Azerbaijan has blocked a humanitarian convoy of trucks carrying food and medicine from Armenia to the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the Armenian Foreign Ministry.
The Lachin Corridor has become a source of major tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia wants to send humanitarian goods to the Armenian population in Nagorno Karabakh however Azerbaijan is reluctant to get Armenian access through Lachin corridor.
The convoy, which was escorted by Russian peacekeepers, was stopped at the border by Azerbaijani forces on Thursday, the ministry said in a statement. It accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire agreement that ended the six-week war over the region last year.
The ministry said the convoy was carrying aid for the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, who have been facing shortages of basic supplies and services since the conflict. It urged the international community to pressure Azerbaijan to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Azerbaijan, however, claimed that the convoy was carrying weapons and ammunition for the Armenian-backed separatists who control most of Nagorno-Karabakh. It said it had the right to inspect and confiscate any cargo that could threaten its security and sovereignty.
The incident has raised tensions between the two countries, which have been locked in a decades-long dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.
The war that erupted in September 2020 killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more. It ended with a Russia-brokered truce that saw Azerbaijan regain control of some territories around Nagorno-Karabakh but left the status of the region unresolved.
Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire and facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons. It has also set up a joint center with Turkey, a key ally of Azerbaijan, to oversee the implementation of the agreement.
The humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh remains dire, as many people lack access to water, electricity, health care and education. The United Nations and other international organizations have called for more funding and cooperation to address the urgent needs of the affected population.