"Baku's provocations are aimed at the complete isolation of the NK Armenians." Assessment from Yerevan
Azerbaijani flag hoisted on the Hakari bridge
“Last month, for propaganda purposes, Azerbaijan provided some sort of passability along the Lachin corridor through Red Cross vehicles and Russian peacekeepers. But since yesterday this movement has been stopped, reduced to zero. Food access has also been terminated,” the Prime Minister of Armenia said.
Azerbaijan banned the entry of people and the import of humanitarian goods into Nagorno-Karabakh through the Lachin corridor. This decision followed the incident on the Khakari Bridge, which resulted in the injury of an Armenian border guard.
On June 15, the National Security Service of Armenia reported that a group of Azerbaijani soldiers of the Azerbaijani border service attempted to advance into the territory of Armenia. It was reported that the purpose of the promotion was to plant the Azerbaijani flag. The attempt was averted by the response of the Armenian border guards. However, telegram channels distributed videos with footage of the Azerbaijanis setting their flag in the presence of the commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
“This bridge was built by Azerbaijan quite recently, and the allegations that the flag was raised on the territory of Armenia are unfounded,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aykhan Hajizade said a couple of hours ago.
“Azerbaijani provocation was committed on the day of the state symbols of Armenia”
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan connects the incident with the hoisting of the Azerbaijani flag on June 15 with the Day of State Symbols celebrated in Armenia.
“Azerbaijanis have tried to once again demonstrate their provocative nature in this way. But thanks to the actions of our border guards, their goal was not achieved. Unfortunately, there is one victim from sniper fire. They [Azerbaijanis] also reported wounded,” he told deputies from the rostrum of the parliament.
Former Minister of Defense and head of the Hayastan opposition faction (Armenia) Seyran Ohanyan said that Baku once again showed its true intentions:
“The Azerbaijanis are not disposed to any agreement through negotiations and will continue to put pressure on Armenia and Artsakh. With the operation carried out on the Khakari bridge, Azerbaijan further aggravated the blockade of Artsakh. The Azerbaijanis are trying to independently demarcate or delimit the territory of Armenia in all directions.”
“Reprehensible and unacceptable”
This is how the deputies of the parliamentary opposition faction “Armenia” described “the hoisting of the Azerbaijani flag on the territory of the Republic of Armenia in the presence of Russian peacekeepers.” At the same time, they avoided assessing the actions of the peacekeepers themselves. Armenian media claim that the parliamentary opposition has a pro-Russian orientation.
“We must look for answers to all these questions in the main agenda that the current government of Armenia is promoting,” opposition MP Artsvik Minasyan said.
The secretary of the ruling faction, Artur Hovhannisyan, described the incident as a “large-scale problem,” but added that the Foreign Ministry was discussing the issue with Russian colleagues:
“Naturally, there is a conversation with our Russian partners, in what context, with what results – the Foreign Ministry will report later.”
All movement stopped
According to the information headquarters of the NK, Azerbaijan has banned both passenger transportation and the import of humanitarian cargo:
- “the transportation of dozens of passengers along the route Stepanakert-Goris-Stepanakert was canceled due to urgent humanitarian need, it was supposed to be carried out by Russian peacekeepers,”
- “the movement of trucks of Russian peacekeepers, heading to Goris to import humanitarian cargo, was suspended.”
25 patients and relatives accompanying them, who were sent from NK to Armenia with the assistance of the Red Cross, were also forced to return home. They were not allowed to pass through the Azerbaijani checkpoint.
The Office of the Ombudsman of Armenia issued a statement emphasizing that humanitarian transportation was previously carried out exclusively through the mediation of the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers:
“Now Azerbaijan is preventing these already limited movement options as a lever to intimidate the civilian population of Artsakh, spread fear, psychological pressure and create unbearable living conditions in NK.”
“The process of ethnic cleansing has been launched”
This is the assessment of the situation by the Prime Minister of Armenia, who stated that the actions of the Azerbaijani authorities confirm the concerns he had previously expressed:
“How else should ethnic cleansing take place? The supply of food, gas and electricity to the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh has been cut off, citizens doing agricultural work are being fired upon, and the possibility of movement is blocked even for patients in critical condition.”
To ensure the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, he again stressed the need to start their dialogue with Baku within the framework of international mechanisms:
“It is to be hoped that concrete steps will be taken in this direction.”
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Installation of the flag of Azerbaijan on the Hakari bridge