Russian peacekeepers near Karmir Shuka

Karmir Shuka Villagers Stop Azerbaijani Military Convoy

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YEREVAN — On January 25, an Azerbaijani military convoy tried to pass through the village of Karmir Shuka in the Martuni region of Artsakh without informing the Armenian side, so the villagers did not allow them to cross for some time. As a result, the Azerbaijani military column remained in the village during this period.

“They came and tried to cross without informing the leadership of the community. That’s why they stopped them. They called from the municipality and said that they came without giving notice,” said our local source. According to the latter, when the Azerbaijani military crosses the main road of Karmir Shuka, both the community authorities and the Artsakh defense army must be informed.

He added with emphasis: “Neither the community leadership nor the army knew. They came unexpectedly. That’s why we stopped them. What right do they have to ignore us? But there was no clash. The road remained closed for about 15 minutes. The government then said, ‘Open it’ and we opened it.”

Metakse Hakobyan, with view of Karmir Shuka

Metakse Hakobyan, a member of the Artsakh Parliament, told us that the residents demanded that the Azerbaijanis not use the road as if they possessed the right of ownership, but must warn in advance in order to come to an agreement before crossing that road. They conveyed their demands to the Azerbaijanis through Russian peacekeepers, and only then, after negotiations, did they open the way.

A second issue raised is that occasionally the villagers’ animals wander over to the neutral zone or into Azerbaijani controlled land, and the Azerbaijanis do not return them.

The Artsakh deputy said that the Azerbaijanis have not responded to the demand of the Artsakh people yet and declared: “We will see from the next passage whether they will keep us informed in advance. It will become clear in this fashion whether the demands of the Armenian side have been accepted.”

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According to Hakobyan, the residents’ patience has already run out. They are trying to organize themselves and, in this way, ensure their own security.

“If they live in Artsakh, it means they are not afraid of the provocations of the enemy. The enemy must understand too that he must not resort to provocations. Otherwise there will be more such incidents. I hope this will be a signal for the Azerbaijanis,” said Hakobyan, continuing: “Everyone living in Artsakh is a hero, because he lives realizing that a few meters away is the bloodthirsty enemy. Only a great love for the homeland can make a person live like that. Especially after the war we tremble for our homeland and we look at everything differently. Until now, we thought that the Artsakh issue would be resolved in favor of Armenia as a result of negotiations, but we are witnessing the opposite. The authorities of Armenia want to close and end this issue of 25 percent [the remaining lands of Artsakh under Armenian control]. It remains for us to live resolutely in Artsakh and not act in such a way that Artsakh does not suddenly become emptied of Armenians,” said Hakobyan.

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