South Caucasus Geopolitical Watch – from 21 January to 27 January 2023

South Caucasus Geopolitical Watch Team : Séverine Ly and Morgan Caillet

21-27/01/2023: Humanitarian and security update in Karabakh and in the Lachin corridor – Morgan Caillet

As of January 27, pro-government environmental demonstrations in Azerbaijan have reached their 47th consecutive day of mobilization, still and nevertheless allowing, according to several local media (,,, the passage of Russian peacekeepers vehicles (55 on 23 January; 57 on 24 January, 61 on 25 January, 43 on 26 January, and 46 on 27 January) and ICRC (10 on 23 January and 6 on 27 January).

According to the “Ministry of Health of Nagorno-Karabakh”, 6 patients were evacuated to Armenia on 21 January and 4 on 23 January. The “Minister of Health” made the following assessment to the “National Assembly” on January 23: death of a patient due to lack of possibility of transfer to Armenia, shortages of diapers and feminine hygiene products. The bulletin of the “Artsakh Information Centre denounced as early as 21 January the disruption of gas supply by the Azerbaijani sidein freezing cold conditions (-5°C)” informing: “ Artsakh’s electricity supply is from limited internal sources, with 6 hours of daily power outage”. As of 27 January, it informed of the partial restoration of the gas supply, the delivery of wood to 135 inhabitants, the impossibility for 515 people to receive surgery, the loss of employment for 4,700 people and the lack of gain 18,400 tonnes of basic necessities since the protests began on December 12.

The “Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh” denounced in a 24 January statement that “Azerbaijani authorities [have] recently resorted more and more to an arbitrary interpretation of paragraph 6 of the trilateral declaration of November 9 2020, regarding the operation of the Lachin Corridor” explaining: “During the entire period of the 43 days of blockade, fewer vehicles passed through the Lachin Corridor than the daily traffic flow during the pre-blockade period. All these vehicles belonged either to the ICRC or to Russian blue helmets. Not a single vehicle belonging to the residents of Artsakh passed through the corridor. […] the import of consumer goods, amounting to more than 400 tons per day, has been completely stopped. […] At the same time, in addition to the ground blockade of Artsakh, Azerbaijan imposed an energy blockade to further aggravate the humanitarian situation. Azerbaijan continues to deliberately obstruct the supply of natural gas to Artsakh, as well as the repair of the only Goris-Stepanakert high-voltage power line from Armenia, which was damaged on 9 January, in a area under Azerbaijani control. […] The Trilateral Declaration does not provide for any restriction on the transport of goods with regard to their nature, destination or use”.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release that it had filed a memorial with the European Court of Justice on 23 January, stating: “Based on the extensive evidence presented, Azerbaijan has asked the Court to declare Armenia responsible for massive violations of the human rights of Azerbaijanis. In particular, Azerbaijan asked the Court to find the Armenian government responsible for ethnic cleansing, including through unlawful killings, torture, destruction and dispossession; cultural erasure; promoting hatred against Azerbaijanis; failure to promote tolerance towards Azerbaijanis among the Armenian population; and state sponsorship of armed hate groups in Armenia. Azerbaijan also asked the Court to urge Armenia to comply with its obligations to disclose all information on missing Azerbaijanis, to return to Azerbaijanis all illegally confiscated property and land, to cease encouraging hatred and state support for armed hate groups, and finally to apologize and take responsibility for thirty years of human rights violations”.

This ministry also reacted in a 25 January statement to the 24 January United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) statement that: “freedom and security of movement along the corridor is essential to ensure continued access to essential sexual and reproductive health supplies and services, and to ensure that women can give birth safely” calling it biased, misleading, out of mandate […] surprising and regrettable and recalling: Since the protests began, more than 1,000 vehicles using the road provided residents with essential goods, medical supplies and needed medical services. The “Government of Azerbaijan has also repeatedly stated that it is ready to respond quickly to any humanitarian needs that Armenian residents may require”.

23/01/2023: The Council of the European Union agrees on the deployment of a civilian observation mission in Armenia: Russia’s response – Morgan Caillet

On 23 January, the Council of the European Union decided, according to its press release, on the establishment of a European Union civilian mission in Armenia (EUMA) within the framework of the security and defence common policy. (SDCP) in order to “contribute to stability in Armenia’s border areas, build trust on the ground and ensure an enabling environment for normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan supported by the EU”. This should carry out “routine patrols” and report on the situation but also contribute “to the mediation efforts within the framework of the process led by the President of the European Council Charles Michel”.

This mission would have a two-year mandate and operational headquarters in Armenia, headed by Stefano Tomat, Director General of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) of the European External Action Service, and a

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China Geopolitical Watch – From 21 January to 27 January 2023