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Russian assistance reaches struggling ethnic Armenians

Nine months after Azerbaijan blocked a road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, a Russian truck has arrived in the region bringing humanitarian assistance.

The help did not go through the only way connecting it to Armenia, which has been closed since December. Instead, it went through a road in Azerbaijan.

For many months, the 120,000 people living in Nagorno-Karabakh have experienced a lack of necessary things.

But, some people who live here at first tried to block the help from coming.

According to Armenian reports, they agreed to let the shipment of food and toiletries pass, but only if Azerbaijan agreed to reopen the Lachin Corridor route to Armenia.

Azerbaijan said that it had given permission to use both routes at the same time through the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

For a long time, people have been upset about long lines and not being able to find bread and basic things like soap and toilet paper in the stores. This happened because Azerbaijan stopped the Lachin Corridor, saying that Armenia was using it to secretly bring in weapons.

The two countries in the South Caucasus have had two wars since the Soviet Union ended in 1990s.

Karabakh is an area within the borders of Azerbaijan, but Armenia has been in charge of it since 1994. The Azerbaijani forces took back all the land around the small area after the war in 2020.

This has made it more dangerous for ethnic Armenians to feel safe there.

Last week, the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, complained that Russia does not want or cannot control the Lachin Corridor, despite deploying 3000 peacekeepers for the safety of the area.

“We’re seeing that Russia is unexpectedly moving away from the region, and we don’t know the reason,” he said to La Repubblica newspaper.

He said that Russia’s war in Ukraine shows that Russia needs weapons for itself. He also said that Armenia relying on only one source for security was a big mistake.

Armenia said it would hold exercises together with US forces this week. Moscow called these exercises “unfriendly steps”. Russia has a military base in Armenia that is always there.

A photo of Mr Pashinyan’s wife and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, shaking hands in Kyiv last week made the situation more intense. Anna Hakobyan went to deliver help and meet the Armenian people living there. This showed she supports the country during their conflict with Russia.

Armenia is still part of Russia’s military alliance called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. However, Pashinyan mentioned earlier this year that if the CSTO decided to leave Armenia, he might consider putting its membership in the alliance on hold.

President Vladimir Putin said that Armenia did not end its alliance with Russia, but he also said that Armenia essentially accepted that Azerbaijan has control over the area.

“He said, during a meeting about economy in Vladivostok, that if Armenia admitted that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, what actions should we take. ”

“I expect the leaders of Azerbaijan, just like they said before and are saying now, to not have any desire for any sort of forced removal of people based on their ethnicity. ”

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