By Sargis Harutyunyan
MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Russian peacekeepers “will not move a single centimeter” from the existing Lachin corridor until a new road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia is put into operation, according to a senior Russian diplomat in Yerevan.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday, August 17, Maxim Seleznyov, a counselor-envoy at the Russian embassy in Armenia, stressed that there are agreements in this regard and the parties are in direct contact over this issue. He did not elaborate.
“Russian peacekeepers will move only at the moment when the new Lachin corridor is opened. The tripartite statement [from November 9, 2020] spells out the steps, the sequence of steps. First, the corridor is completed, and as it comes into operation, Russian peacekeepers take control of a five-kilometer corridor around this road,” Seleznyov said.
Amid fresh fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh earlier this month ethnic Armenian authorities in Stepanakert said that the Azerbaijani side, through Russian peacekeepers, demanded that a new connection be organized between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia along a new route.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities informed the few remaining Armenian residents of the town of Berdzor and the villages of Aghavno and Sus that are situated along the current Lachin corridor that no Russian peacekeepers will be left in the territory after August 25 and, therefore, they needed to leave their homes before the end of the month.