“The humanitarian crisis has escalated”: on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
“The European Union is deeply concerned about the suffering endured by the local population due to ongoing restrictions on free movement and the supply of essential goods,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said regarding the situation in the unrecognized NKR, which has been under blockade for more than two months.
Borrell also said that the EU is closely following developments and again called for the opening of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting NK with the outside world. He added that humanitarian funding from the European Union to overcome the consequences of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict was 3.6 million euros in 2022, transmitted through the Red Cross, the only international organization with access to NK and the ability to move along the Lachin corridor currently blocked by Azerbaijanis claiming to be environmental activists.
Pashinyan: “Azerbaijan’s goal is becoming more and more obvious”
At a government meeting, Nikol Pashinyan stated that “as a result of the energy blockade, the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh has become even more aggravated.”
Further, the international community “was skeptical about Armenia’s assertions that the goal of Azerbaijan’s actions is ethnic cleansing of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.” But now it’s all out in the open:
“It is no coincidence that the Lemkin International Institute for the Prevention of Genocides has made statements three times over the past three months about the illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor and the rhetoric of the Azerbaijani leadership. In a recent statement, the institute is asking world leaders to take the threat of an Armenian genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh seriously.”
Appeal to the countries of the OSCE Minsk Group
The authorities of the unrecognized NKR again appealed to the international community, in particular to the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, the United States and France) to jointly or separately take effective measures to unblock the “lifeline of Artsakh and prevent new crimes”:
“We urge sanctions on the state of Azerbaijan and all authors and accomplices of the crime against the people of Artsakh. Along with other sanctions, we call for them to be banned from entering their territories, and that their movable and immovable property in their countries be frozen.”
Calls for Baku to open the Lachin corridor have come from many countries and from various international organizations. However, none of these statements has so far mentioned the possibility of imposing sanctions.
The list of goods on coupons is growing
Starting February 21, the list of goods sold by coupons will expand. Since mid-January sugar, rice, pasta, vegetable oil have been sold only by coupons. This measure was taken in order to provide food for all residents from available stocks.
Eight more patients transported to Armenia
The local information headquarters reports that eight more patients were transported to Armenia by the Red Cross. Four patients who were previously transferred to Armenia went back to NK after completing the treatment.
Since the beginning of the blockade, 105 patients have been transported to Armenia to provide specialized medical care. Elective operations in NK are still not carried out.
“Three children are in the departments of neonatology and intensive care at the Arevik medical clinic. There are eight patients in intensive care at the Republican Medical Center, 5 of them are in extremely serious condition,” the headquarters said in a statement.
“There is no gas, the power system cannot hold up”
On February 15, Azerbaijan partially restored the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, a few hours later, information came out that “Azerbaijan again blocked the operation of the only gas pipeline through which gas is supplied from Armenia.”
According to the director of Artsakhenergo Andranik Khachatryan, in the absence of gas and the unrelenting cold, “the energy system cannot withstand the load, accidents have become more frequent, the distribution network is in an emergency condition.”
He also reports that since January 9, Azerbaijan has not allowed repair of the damaged section of the only high-voltage line through which electricity comes from Armenia. The capacities of local small hydroelectric power stations are used, which is why electricity is supplied to the houses by the hour.
The right to education continues to be violated
Due to the lack of gas it is very cold in schools, and due to power outages it is impossible to organize online classes.
The first round of admission to the universities of Armenia has ended, and applicants from Nagorno-Karabakh could not take part, since the road is closed.
At the end of the academic year another round of admissions will be organized. But it is unclear whether the Lachin corridor will open before then. Armenia is discussing alternative ways to administer exams, including online.
The situation in the blockaded Nagorno-Karabakh