A change to the route of the Lachin corridor has been implemented, with a route bypassing the town of Lachin connected to a new section of road near Armenia’s border.
The change would not affect the section of the route currently under blockade near the town of Shusha (Shushi).
Azerbaijan’s announcement on Thursday regarding the change noted that ‘several commanding heights, main, and auxiliary roads’ in the Lachin district had been taken under Azerbaijani control.
Only vehicles used by the Russian peacekeeping mission and the Red Cross will be able to use the amended route to travel between Stepanakert and Yerevan, as ordinary traffic into and out of the region has been obstructed for over three months.
The 2020 ceasefire agreement following the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War included a clause stipulating that ‘a new route along the Lachin corridor shall be determined’ within three years.
The clause was interpreted by both Armenia and Azerbaijan as requiring a new section of road bypassing the town of Lachin, which came under Azerbaijani control in August 2022, as well as the town of Shusha, which Azerbaijan took control of during the war.
The first stage in changing the route related to moving the road outside the town of Lachin and nearby villages, with the road moving slightly north of the town last August.
The remaining section of the bypass route, near the Armenian border, has been under construction since then.
Early on Thursday, the authorities in Stepanakert reported that Azerbaijan had closed the road near the village of Aghavno during the night and that a new unpaved road passing through the Tegh and Kordnidzor villages of Syunik Province would now be used. The new road sections were built by Armenia.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in Nagorno-Karabakh have been growing in recent weeks, feeding fears of a new escalation in Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry announced on Thursday that they had taken control of a ‘large area’ near the village of Aghavno (Zabukh), allegedly to prevent the construction of a road bypassing the Lachin corridor.
Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of using an alternative route to transport supplies, including weaponry, to Stepanakert, but no evidence has emerged to support this.
For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.