What are Russian peacekeeper trucks carrying on the Lachin corridor? Comments from Baku
Russian peacekeeper vehicle cargo
It is now the thirty-third day of the protest by Azerbaijani activists in the Lachin corridor. Lately dozens of trucks providing support for the Russian peacekeeping contingent have been passing through the protest area daily. Experts in Baku are wondering what these trucka are carrying, and whether Azerbaijan is checking the cargo. “It is necessary to establish border and customs checkpoints on the Lachin road,” political scientist Elkhan Shahinoglu says.
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.In his last interview with local television stations, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the Russian contingent supply vehicles are transporting food and medicine to Khankendi, that Baku is aware of this, and does not interfere with the process of supplying the Armenian population of Karabakh. In his view, this means there is no blockade.
The Azerbaijani expert community has questions about the alleged humanitarian aid being transported to Khankendi in peacekeepers’ vehicles.
According to political scientist and head of the Atlas analytical center Elkhan Shahinoglu, it is difficult to unequivocally answer the question of whether peacekeepers can transport non-humanitarian goods in their vehicles:
“We have no information about the contents of RCC vehicles.
The command of the peacekeeping contingent may be lying about what they’re transporting. But what kind of supplies are these with 25 trucks passing from Armenia to Karabakh every day?
It is difficult to say that peacekeepers are transporting weapons and mines for the Karabakh separatists in these vehicles. But at the same time, it’s hard to rule it out.
The fact is that during the two years that the peacekeepers have been in Karabakh, weapons and mines have been actively transported from Armenia to this region. They did not prevent this in any way, and even cooperated. In this case, it is hard to believe that suddenly the peacekeepers have turned their backs on the Armenian separatists.”
Shahinoglu believes that over the past time, the Karabakh Armenians have studied the psychology of Russian military personnel:
“Starting in 1988, the Armenian separatists established a tradition of bribing Russian military personnel.
For example, Andrey Volkov, the commander of the peacekeeping contingent himself, is against the transportation of weapons on RCC vehicles. But everything can be solved at a lower level for a few thousand dollars a month.”
Shahinoglu sees only one way to solve this problem:
“In order to exclude such a scenario, it is necessary to establish border and customs posts of Azerbaijan on the Lachin road. After that all vehicles will be subjected to checks, both peacekeepers and Karabakh Armenians.
“What is the point of this protest?”
According to political observer Gadzhi Namazov, in recent weeks the protest has “practically lost its meaning”:
“It is clear that the peacekeepers are bringing food and other essential goods to Khankendi. President Aliyev also pointed to this.
Another thing is interesting: the peacekeepers themselves do not confirm it. In all the news we hear the assertion that these are peacekeeping contingent support vehicles. But the volume of vehicles compared to the number of soldiers doesn’t make sense.
What is the reason for this crisscrossing? Are the peacekeepers really ordered to support the legend of the blockade of Khankendi, but at the same time provide the Armenian population of Karabakh with everything they need?”
Namazov also expressed doubts about the appropriateness of the protest in such conditions:
“If the Azerbaijani side does not have the opportunity to check the contents of the cargo on trucks, then what is the point of the protest?
Yes, you can’t carry anything oversized in there. That is why it is worth working on the deposits of gold and copper. Foreigners also do not go to Khankendi, because even if they manage to get there peacekeeper vehicles, just their being in Karabakh would be a scandal.
The fact that the protesters are interfering with such liberties on the Lachin road is a plus for the interests of Azerbaijan. But on all other issues, one protest alone will not turn that road into a completely humanitarian corridor. Other measures are needed.”