Man dies of starvation in unrecognized NKR, blockade continues
Starvation in Nagorno-Karabakh
“A case of death from starvation has been recorded in Artsakh,” NK Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan announced yesterday. A 40-year-old man died “due to chronic malnutrition and protein-energy malnutrition.” Statements that there is a catastrophic humanitarian situation in the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic come from Yerevan as well. The Office of the Ombudsman of Armenia analyzed the state of affairs in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been blocked for 247 days.
“There was also a case of the death of an unborn child due to the impossibility of an ambulance arriving – there was no fuel,” the Armenian human rights defender said in a report.
A group of local residents held a protest in front of the military base of Russian peacekeepers stationed in NK. They stated that “all deaths will remain on Putin’s conscience.”
The Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world, has been blocked since December 12, 2022. Since mid-June, Azerbaijan has banned all types of humanitarian supplies, including medicines. On July 26, the Armenian government sent humanitarian aid, which is still awaiting permission to pass through the border. In return, Baku offers supplies through the territory of Azerbaijan, which the NK Armenians consider unacceptable.
Only the International Committee of the Red Cross has limited access to the unrecognized republic, which periodically transports patients in need of treatment to Armenia. This process is also accompanied by incidents. On July 29, Azerbaijan detained 68-year-old Vagif Khachatryan, who was being transported by ICRC staff to Yerevan for urgent heart surgery. Baku accuses him of killing civilians in 1991. Khachatryan’s daughters claim that their father then worked as a driver and could not be “the organizer of the genocide.” Armenia declared that “detaining a person under the protection of the ICRC is a war crime.”
- “It is impossible to abandon the idea of opening the Lachin corridor by force.” Opinions from Yerevan
“The ultimate goal is the expulsion of the indigenous Armenian population from Nagorno-Karabakh”
Armenian Human Rights Defender Anahit Manasyan made a statement on the situation in NK. She stressed that the blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan led to gross violations of the fundamental rights of the Armenian population. In particular, we are talking about a violation of the right to life, dignity, protection of physical and mental health, freedom of movement, personal and family life, housing, education, food, an adequate standard of living:
“The humanitarian crisis has a particularly negative impact on the rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly, women, people with disabilities, etc. In particular, 30,000 children, 9,000 disabled people, 20,000 old people and 60,000 women are under blockade” .
According to the human rights activist, the humanitarian catastrophe manifests itself in all spheres of people’s lives:
- “Grocery stores are completely lacking food, essentials and hygiene items, or there are extremely few of them, you can buy them only by standing in huge lines.
- There have been cases of shortages of medicines, and in some cases their complete absence.
- Due to malnutrition and a daily deterioration in the well-being of people, more and more cases of fainting are being recorded.
- Due to the lack of sufficient food, the number of preterm births has increased.
- Public transport has been completely stopped since July 25 due to an acute shortage of fuel.
- Problems with the provision of drinking water due to power outages have been recorded.”
Manasyan focused on the problems of the residents of the villages of Yeghtsaoh, Khin Shen, Mets Shen and Lisagor in the Shusha region. Since April 2023, after the establishment of a checkpoint on the Khakari bridge by Azerbaijan, these settlements have been cut off from the rest of the territory of NK and have been under complete blockade.
“The current humanitarian catastrophe is a direct manifestation of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide, fueled by hatred towards Armenians on the part of the Azerbaijani authorities. The ultimate goal of this policy is the expulsion of its indigenous Armenian population from Nagorno-Karabakh,” she said.
The human rights defender announced the need to stop the irreversible processes of the deepening humanitarian catastrophe as soon as possible.
“All deaths will remain on Putin’s conscience”
On the night of August 15, a group of local residents began a peaceful action, blocking the entrance to the base of Russian peacekeepers in NK. They demanded to unblock the Lachin corridor.
The protesters believe that the lack of food could result in mass loss of life. In this regard, they called on the peacekeepers to tell their commander-in-chief, Russian President Putin, that “all deaths will remain on his conscience.” They also reminded the Russian military that the Russian president had promised the locals a decent life, but had not kept his promise.
“If you do not notice the genocidal policy of Ilham Aliyev, then Russia becomes a participant in the genocide. You must comply with the provisions of the statement signed by your president on November 9  regarding the provision of unimpeded movement along the Lachin corridor]. Otherwise, Russia and Vladimir Putin become participants in the crime prepared by Aliyev,” Artur Osipyan, a member of the initiative group, said addressing the peacekeepers.
In the morning, the RCC servicemen managed to forcefully remove the car with which the protesters blocked the entrance to the military base.
“The Lachin corridor will be closed forever”
Speaking about Baku’s proposal to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Armenians under blockade through the territory of Azerbaijan, NK Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan stated:
“We see the danger and threat that the Lachin corridor will be closed forever if the route through Agdam is activated. Thus, we will lose contact with mother Armenia. In addition, it is necessary to understand that any cargo delivered from Azerbaijan is unacceptable for the people, this is not a whim of the NK authorities. Citizens emphasized during the meetings that the supply of Azerbaijani goods would be an infringement on their dignity for them. Only after the complete unblocking of the Lachin corridor will it be possible to talk about alternative roads.”
“The shelling of EU monitors is a small punishment from Aliyev”
On the eve of the Armenian Defense Ministry, it was reported that units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire on EU observers patrolling the border in the direction of the settlement of Verin Shorzha and their car. The mission initially announced that this information was not true. But after the publication of a video in the Armenian Telegram channels, where one of the observers talks about the shots in their direction, the information about the shelling was confirmed, and the refutation was deleted.
Political scientist Hovsep Khurshudyan believes that the shelling of European observers was Azerbaijan’s response to the refutation by the EU mission of misinformation, which was previously spread from Baku. Civilian observers monitoring the Armenian-Azerbaijani border denied the report that there is an accumulation of military equipment and troops from the Armenian side:
“We do not see any unusual military movements or concentrations, especially near the Lachin corridor.”
An Armenian political scientist said that the shelling that followed this denial was “a small punishment for Europeans from Aliyev.”
Baku announced the accumulation of Armenian troops on the border on August 14. Armenia immediately denied this information:
“One of the purposes of the disinformation organized by Azerbaijan is to divert the attention of the international community from the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and its steps to carry out ethnic cleansing through a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Starvation in Nagorno-Karabakh