By Ulkar Natiqqizi and Lilit Shahverdyan
Azerbaijani forces have taken control of three additional territories in Karabakh, even as the opening of the new road that was the reason for the handover — the new “Lachin corridor” — has been delayed.
The three territories lay along the current route of the Lachin corridor, the road that connects Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. The ceasefire agreement that ended the 2020 Second Karabakh War stipulated that a new Lachin corridor would be built and in early August, as Azerbaijan said that the new road was “near completion,” the de facto Karabakh authorities gave residents of the villages along the road an August 25 deadline to leave.
But on the day of the deadline, both sides reported that the new road had been delayed: Karabakh’s de facto Interior Ministry announced that the current road would function until August 31 and would be protected by the Russian peacekeepers.
Both sides said the issue was a segment of less than five kilometers that should be ready in the coming days.
The head of Azerbaijan’s highway administration said that the 10-kilometer section of the road that lay on Armenian territory had not been completed. “At the request of Karabakh Armenians, Azerbaijan built a connecting section of 4.8 kilometers,” said the official, Saleh Mammadov, chair of the Azerbaijan State Agency of Automobile Roads. He said the new road would be ready “in the coming week.”