ArmInfo.Armenia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to a statement by Maria Zakharova, Spokesperson for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the resent situation in the Lachin corridor as the result of Armenia's recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.
Another comment of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry of a similar content that the situation in the Lachin corridor is a consequence of the fact that, in October 2022 in Prague, referring to the Alma-Ata Declaration, Armenia recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, after which the task of Russian peacekeepers became possible influence in the issue of the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, causes bewilderment and disappointment.
We are forced to publicly recall the chronology of events already known to everyone and significant circumstances.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has never been a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan: at its core, it has always been and remains a question of the rights and security of the people of Nagorno- Karabakh.
In August 2022, the Armenian side approved the Russian draft settlement of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to which the discussion of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was postponed indefinitely. Azerbaijan rejected this project, at the same time declaring (as it did on August 31 in Brussels) that it was not going to discuss anything related to Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, and a few days later, on September 13, it resorted to military aggression against the sovereign territory of Armenia.
After Azerbaijan's refusal, the Russian side not only failed to show consistency in this matter, but also demonstrated absolute indifference to the aggression against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, leaving unanswered the official letter of the Armenian side on providing support to the Republic of Armenia on the basis of a bilateral legal framework. Moreover, the Russian Federation explained the lack of reaction to the attack on Armenia and the resulting inaction by the lack of delimitation of the interstate border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is a false pretext, thereby supporting the deliberately false and extremely dangerous thesis that due to the absence of a border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is difficult to record an attack and invasion of the territory of Armenia. Similarly, a similar request from Armenia to the CSTO also did not receive a proper response.
Against this background, October 6, 2022. in Prague, Armenia and Azerbaijan reaffirmed their commitment to the Alma-Ata Declaration, which the former Soviet republics, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, signed back in 1991, recognizing each other's territorial integrity with the administrative borders that existed between the republics during the Soviet Union. Thus, nothing new was decided in Prague: as of October 2022. The Alma-Ata Declaration has been in effect for about 31 years. The agreements reached in Prague did not add anything new to the text of the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020. The only innovation was that, following the meeting in Prague, the EU decided to deploy an observation mission on the Armenian side of the Armenian-Azerbaijani interstate border in order to contribute stability at the border.
The Russian Federation has repeatedly, including after the signing of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. The latest and, nevertheless, the most significant was the fact that Russia recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in the document establishing strategic relations with Azerbaijan.
On December 12, 2022, in the zone of control of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, the Lachin corridor was blocked as a result of false protests organized by the Azerbaijani authorities. Already in April 2023, the Azerbaijani side, in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, established an illegal checkpoint in the Lachin corridor. Despite the fact that these actions constituted a clear and flagrant violation of the Tripartite Statement, there was no recorded opposition from the Russian Federation. Instead, on June 15, 2023, Russian peacekeepers provided effective support to Azerbaijan's attempt to plant the Azerbaijani flag on the sovereign territory of Armenia, which is outside the scope of their mission and geographical area of responsibility. This was immediately followed by the complete blocking of the Lachin corridor, bringing the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh closer to a real humanitarian catastrophe.
"Already in April 2023, the Azerbaijani side, in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, established an illegal checkpoint in the Kashatagh corridor. Although these actions were a clear and gross violation of the tripartite statement, there was no opposition from Russia. On June 15, 2023, they provided effective support to an attempt to establish flag of Azerbaijan on the sovereign territory of Armenia, outside the scope of its mission and geographical area of responsibility, which was immediately followed by the complete blocking of the Kashatagh corridor, bringing the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh closer to a real humanitarian catastrophe.
Under conditions of such permissiveness, in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, the Azerbaijani side at an illegal checkpoint in the Kashatagh corridor resorts to such steps as kidnapping residents of Nagorno- Karabakh, following the example of Vagif Khachatryan on July 29 and three students on August 28.
Unfortunately, this practice of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, is not new. On December 11, 2020, the violation of the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, the illegal capture of the villages of Khtsaberd and Khin Tager, the capture and transfer of 60 Armenian servicemen to Baku took place in the presence and with the connivance of representatives of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh. Then the agreements of October 6, 2022 were not reached. The same applies to the events of March 24, 2022 in Parukh and August 1, 2022 in Saribaba, when Azerbaijan again violated the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh.
Shelling by the Azerbaijani armed forces of persons carrying out agricultural work in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, one of the incidents ended in the murder of a tractor driver from Martakert, terror of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh with night lighting and loudspeakers again in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, thousands of violations of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani armed forces again in the presence of Russian peacekeepers - a continuation of this logic.
We advise the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in the absence of actions by Russian peacekeepers to prevent the blocking of the Kashatag corridor or its opening after blocking, to refrain from juggling the circumstances of the situation and thereby further complicating it.
We advise the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry to refrain from maneuvering the circumstances of the situation and thereby further complicating it in the absence of actions by Russian peacekeepers to prevent the blocking of the Lachin corridor or its opening after.
We also consider it necessary to reassure that the Republic of Armenia is committed to its obligation to establish stability in the region on the basis of mutual recognition of territorial integrity and borders. At the same time, we consider it absolutely necessary to resume the functioning of the Lachin Corridor in accordance with the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020 and the decisions of the International Court of Justice, as well as to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh and resolve all existing problems through the Baku-Stepanakert dialogue under international auspices.
It should be noted that on August 31, Zakharova, reacting to the difficult situation in the Kashatagh corridor, stated that the current situation in the corridor was the result of Armenia's recognition of Nagorno- Karabakh as part of the territory of Azerbaijan.
According to her, this was recorded at the end of the summit with the participation of the leaders of the two countries under the auspices of the European Union in October 2022 and May 2023.
"This was clearly emphasized in the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry dated July 15 in connection with the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. We consider it inappropriate, wrong, unjustified to assign responsibility in this context to the Russian peacekeeping contingent. The peacekeeping contingent's task in the new conditions - after Armenia's authorities recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan - is to provide, 'on the ground', all possible assistance in ensuring the rights and security of the Karabakh Armenians, including in the context of direct dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert," Ms Zakharova said.
She also accused Armenia of non-fulfillment of agreements and a radical change of position on key issues for Yerevan itself.