Lachin corridor out of Russian peacekeepers' control for 20 days: Armenian premier

Azerbaijan has denied that NGOs at the corridor protesting 'illegal actions' by Armenia are hindering traffic along the route.

Lachin corridor out of Russian peacekeepers' control for 20 days: Armenian premier

For nearly three weeks, Russian peacekeepers have not been in control of the Lachin corridor, a route connecting Armenia to the Caucasus territory of Karabakh, Armenia’s prime minister claimed on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg, Nikol Pashinyan called the situation at the Lachin corridor a "crisis," demanding immediate attention.

"You know, the Lachin corridor has been blocked for almost 20 days ... I would like to remind you that, according to the trilateral statement (of January 2021)... the Lachin corridor should be under the control of Russian peacekeepers,” he said, referring to a January 2021 agreement signed in the wake of a fall 2020 conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh.

Under the pact, he added, “The Republic of Azerbaijan guaranteed unhindered passage of passengers, cargo, and people along the Lachin corridor. Now it turns out that the Lachin corridor is not under the control of Russian peacekeepers.”

Azerbaijan has denied that nongovernmental organizations at the corridor protesting “illegal actions” by Armenia are hindering traffic along the route.

The two former Soviet states of Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war in fall 2020 over Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

The war, which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal, saw Azerbaijan liberate several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

For his part, Putin said that Russian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani leaders started discussion about the situation in Karabakh on Monday on the sidelines of an informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

"We started yesterday, and the three of us managed to talk," Putin said, likely referring to the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as the third participant in the conversation.

"Of course, the main issue is the settlement of the situation in the South Caucasus as a whole, Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, everything related to Karabakh," he said.

Putin also said Russian-Armenian economic cooperation is developing "very positively," as over the first 10 months of 2022 saw a 73% increase in trade turnover.