Russian peacekeepers are to establish a ‘mini customs checkpoint’ at the border between Armenia and the Lachin Corridor, which connects to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The news was announced by the commander of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, Andrey Volkov, while speaking with Azerbaijani journalists in Shusha (Shushi) on Saturday. Volkov said that equipment would be brought in to inspect vehicles and cargo.
Azerbaijani pro-government media initially suggested that the checkpoint would be controlled by Azerbaijan.
However, on Monday, the Nagorno-Karabakh security services said they had spoken to Volkov and clarified that there would be no Azerbaijanis at the proposed checkpoint.
‘According to Volkov, it is planned to install technical control devices only to facilitate the work of peacekeepers’, Armenian media quoted them as saying.
Footage of the meeting with Azerbaijani journalists that was released online on Monday also confirmed that Volkov had not mentioned that the checkpoint would be controlled by Azerbaijan.
The news came amidst several incidents in Nagorno-Karabakh over the weekend.
On Saturday, Azerbaijanis in civilian clothes briefly blocked the Lachin Corridor near Shusha, leading to fears that Nagorno-Karabakh could be cut off. According to the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, the road remained closed for 3 hours leading to queues of over 1 kilometre.
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan said they had approached peacekeepers between Shusha and Stepanakert to negotiate an inspection of mining in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The ministry said that their representatives, along with personnel from the Ministry of Economy, then visited the peacekeeping headquarters in Khojali (Ivanyan), on the other side of Stepanakert, before returning to Shusha.
‘In this regard, the importance of conducting monitoring, property inventory, and environmental research in the areas where the illegal exploitation of minerals is being carried out and other relevant locations was emphasised’, the ministry said.
On Sunday, RFE/RL reported that a fistfight between Azerbaijanis and Armenians had broken out in the village of Getavan (Gozlukorpu), in the north of Nagorno-Karabakh. The village sits on a road through Nagorno-Karabakh that has been used by Azerbaijanis to travel to and from Kalbajar, to the west of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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.