Is there an alternative road from Armenia to Khankendi? Comments from Baku
Alternative road from Armenia to Khankendi
In Baku the possibility of the existence of alternative roads from Armenia to Khankendi (Stepanakert) is being discussed. Political scientist Shahin Elkhanoglu claims that Karabakh Armenians continue to arm themselves through these roads. According to political observer Gadzhi Namazov, even if such roads exist, they are not at the level to carry heavy weapons.
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On the 36th day of the protest of Azerbaijani activists on the Lachin road, there were talks about the existence of alternative roads connecting Armenia with Khankendi.
The Russian peacekeeping contingent (RMC) closed the road leading to the protest site from both sides. Every day several dozens of RCC supply vehicles pass along the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Armenia with the part of Karabakh where the Armenian population lives.
According to Azerbaijan, peacekeeper trucks are transporting food and essential goods from Armenia to Khankendi, as stated by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in an interview to local TV channels.
Today a schematic map appeared in the Azerbaijani segment of social networks, the authors of which claim that the road indicated in blue is an alternative to the officially existing Lachin corridor. This version was also confirmed by internally displaced persons from the Lachin region, through which the said “alternative road” passes.
According to the map, the “alternative road” starts from the Lachin corridor near the village of Turshsu and passes through the mountainous terrain of the Lachin region to Khankendi itself.
“All roads should be under the control of Azerbaijani border guards”
Political scientist and head of the Atlas analytical center Elkhan Shahinoglu notes that he does not have accurate data on the existence of such a road, but he cannot exclude the possibility.
“According to widespread information, Armenian separatists are transporting weapons and ammunition along this road to Khankendi. Only the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan can confirm or deny this information.
It is clear that if this road exists, then it is not paved and it is difficult to use. Despite this, even if it is possible to deliver weapons from Armenia to Karabakh by pedestrian road, such attempts should be stopped.
The intelligence capabilities of Azerbaijan are very broad. To track the movements of the Armenian separatists, Baku can use its near-Earth satellites.
For my part, I am sure that if there is any path linking Armenia with Khankendi, it should be taken under control, and if this is not possible destroyed by rocket strikes. All roads in Karabakh must be under the control of Azerbaijani border guards,” Shahinoglu said.
“It’s nothing more than a mountain path”
According to political observer Gadzhi Namazov, this information probably appeared on the basis of statements from Khankendi:
“After the protest began on the Lachin road, militant statements began to be heard from Khankendi. The newly emerged leader of the separatist regime, Ruben Vardanyan, issued a statement about the need to fight Azerbaijan. True, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan advised the separatists to be more careful in their expressions.
To be ready to fight with Azerbaijan means arming. The separatist regime cannot fight Baku in other ways, because all the calls of this unrecognized group meet with international law.
In truth, even the heavily armed regime in Khankendi can hardly withsyand the modern Azerbaijani army for more than a few hours. But as they say, the gautnlet has been thrown down, and rumors have spread that there are alternative ways of arming illegal gangs in Karabakh.”
Namazov believe that no alternative road can replace the normal, officially existing Lachin road:
“The presented map of the alternative road is too convoluted. Even if there is some semblance of a road there, it is nothing more than a mountain path. Cars do not go on such paths. In other words, if weapons are being transported to Khankendi, then this is not heavy equipment. And the Azerbaijani side has absolutely nothing to worry about.
But there is another version. Baku is not sure that Russian peacekeepers’ support vehicles are carrying only humanitarian cargo. If this is true, then there is no need for any path.
But even in this case, we are talking about light weapons, because heavy military equipment would be hard to miss.
In any case I repeat, the illegal Karabakh regime looks very weak in comparison with the army that opposes it. And in my deep conviction, things will not come to an armed clash. Neither Baku, nor the Karabakh separatists, nor Yerevan needs this.”