Azerbaijani forces have imposed a blockade on approximately 120,000 ethnic Armenians in the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh to Armenians) since 12 December last year. The blockade restricts movement along the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia. On 15 June, even the International Committee of the Red Cross was denied entry into the region by Azerbaijani authorities.
Genocide scholar Elisa von Joeden-Forgey stated in an Inquirer article that the situation is “on the brink of catastrophe”. Echoing these concerns, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention warned that the blockade could escalate into genocide if not promptly addressed.
According to von Joeden-Forgey, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, backed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, aims to claim the remaining core of the disputed area. This strategic move comes as Russia is preoccupied with Ukraine and the European Union is increasingly reliant on Azeri natural gas.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry recently issued a statement condemning presidential elections held in the Republic of Artsakh on 9 September, claiming that the elections were “null and void” and contravened international law.
Despite the alarming warnings, the international community has been slow to act. While some American politicians and organisations have voiced concerns, the overall global response has been tepid. Limited coverage by the international press and a lack of decisive action from foreign diplomats further exacerbate the situation.
The unfolding crisis in Artsakh not only poses a direct threat to the Armenians but also challenges international law and multilateralism, von Joeden-Forgey warns.