Azerbaijan’s checkpoint on Berdzor Corridor worsens humanitarian situation in Artsakh

Azerbaijan sets up checkpoint on Lachin Corridor (Photo: NKR InfoCenter)

Humanitarian aid shipments to Artsakh have been disrupted by Azerbaijan’s installation of a checkpoint along the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor. 

Artsakh authorities announced that humanitarian assistance delivered by Russian peacekeepers from Armenia to Artsakh could not be transported for three days following the creation of the checkpoint. On April 25, Artsakh authorities said that food shipments had been “somewhat restored.” 

The transfer of 28 patients from Artsakh to medical institutions in Armenia was also barred by the establishment of the checkpoint. The patients include a pregnant woman whose expectant baby will require cardiac surgery and a nine-year-old with leukemia. 

On April 23, Azerbaijan set up a checkpoint along the Berdzor Corridor, the sole route connecting Armenia and Artsakh, and closed the Hakari bridge at the entrance to the corridor near Armenia’s border. Russian peacekeeping forces stationed near the bridge did not intervene.  

Azerbaijani protesters posing as environmental activists have closed the Berdzor Corridor since December 12, 2022, barring the movement of civilians or essential goods. Only vehicles belonging to the Russian peacekeeping mission in Artsakh or the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been able to travel along the corridor. The ICRC has transported patients from Artsakh to Armenia for medical assistance since the start of the blockade. Yet the establishment of a checkpoint has tightened the blockade on Artsakh. 

“It is obvious that by setting up a checkpoint, Azerbaijan is trying to give new impetus to its policy of ethnic cleansing of Artsakh in an environment of complete impunity and permissiveness,” the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said. “Not only does the leadership of Azerbaijan not hide its genocidal actions, but also announces them in advance without any condemnation or opposition from the international community.”

The installation of a military checkpoint violates the trilateral ceasefire agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia ending the 2020 Artsakh War. Under the terms of the agreement, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor to ensure the connection between Armenia and Artsakh. The agreement states that “Azerbaijan guarantees traffic safety along the Lachin Corridor of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions.” 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan defended the move in a statement, calling it a “legitimate national security decision.” It accused Armenia of using the Berdzor Corridor to transport military weaponry and personnel to Artsakh. 

Azerbaijani authorities have long accused Armenia, as well as the Russian peacekeeping forces stationed in Artsakh, of using the Berdzor Corridor to deliver military equipment. They have not provided any evidence for this claim. Azerbaijani leadership has cited this accusation to justify previous escalations and military advances in Artsakh in the past months. 

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry denied that its government had violated the ceasefire agreement. It said that installing a border checkpoint “does not create changes in the traffic regime on the road.” It also denied that the Berdzor Corridor has been under blockade since December, stating that there are “appropriate conditions for transparent, safe and orderly passage” for the Armenians of Artsakh. 

Artsakh authorities have directly called on Russia to prevent the creation of a checkpoint along the Berdzor Corridor. The corridor falls under the control of Russian peacekeepers, who were in close proximity to the Hakari bridge at the time of its closure by Azerbaijani forces. 

The Artsakh Foreign Ministry said that it expects an “unequivocal and adequate response and effective measures” from the wider international community and “first of all, the Russian Federation.” 

Advisor to the Artsakh State Minister Artak Beglaryan was even more direct, stating that Azerbaijan had been able to install a checkpoint because of the failure of the Russian peacekeeping forces to prevent the blockade. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia further called on Russia to “finally fulfill the obligation” under the ceasefire and end the blockade of the Berdzor Corridor. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry also called on the United Nations to “take effective steps toward the unconditional implementation of the decision of the ICJ [International Court of Justice].” 

On February 22, the ICJ ruled that Azerbaijan must guarantee free movement along the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry did not mention the checkpoint in a statement it released this week expressing “great concern over the situation in Artsakh.” The statement repeatedly appealed to “both sides,” calling on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to abide by the ceasefire agreement. It called unacceptable any steps toward “the unapproved modification of the mode of operation of the Lachin Corridor or attempts to use it for purposes not meeting the peaceful agenda.” 

The United States and France released sharper statements, criticizing Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor. They both called for free movement of people and commerce along the route. 

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe announced this week that its rapporteur on “addressing the humanitarian consequences of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor,” Paul Gavan, will visit Armenia, Azerbaijan and Artsakh to document the situation along the corridor.

“Azerbaijan alleges systematic and large-scale misuse of the Lachin road for illicit purposes, contrary to the Trilateral Statement of 10 November 2020, which it claims constitute security threats. Without accessing the area, it is not possible to verify these claims,” Gavan said. “On the other hand, the suffering of the inhabitants in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the resulting serious humanitarian crisis, has already been well-documented.”

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.


  1. It is obvious to me Armenians should assemble in numbers at all media headquarters. The media has been quiet. It is time for then to speak up. ALSO, where is the Catholic Protestant churches? If Christianity is real they should be making pro Armenian news statements to show their solidarity with other christians. It time for christianity to put up or shut up.

    • Hey andy christianity over when european christians supported saudi arabia and its allies against catholic maronites during so called civil war which was actually civil genocide against christians how armenians maronites expelled from lebanon and its caused demographic change in lebanon also christian world sided with bosnian and kosovar muslims against christian serbs today in europe backyard isis kosovo travel free to EU states while christian armenian state citizens cant.

  2. Andy you are so right its time to have big demonstrations in front of newspapers and TV
    news stations it seams that the USA doesn t give a damn about the Armenians and its too busy with the Ukranians. Armenians in Artsakh are in a worse cituation .

    • Hi Richard, I always cared about the recognition since I was in my teens. I marched with other Boston Armenian Americans to get recognition. Back the genocide was reported but soon years later the media forgot us. Also, to be very blunt the media never forgot the holocaust. I on going on 79 but can recall having disagreements with my father, a genocide survivor, about the approach Armenians took, keeping the Armenian Genocide to themselves WASTING time for too many years giving Turkey time to deny. For years I was angry with the Armenian community for its inaction. I am still very angry with the so called Christian religion leadership been quiet about Christian Armenians. I was baptised in the Armenian Apostolic Church but because of my families location we attended the United Presbyterian Church in Cambridge. After many years later I returned to the Presbyterian church and became a deacon. I stepped down because of my conscience bothered me. In 2019 dropped my membership because when Artsakh issue came up I felt insulted by some of the members and the pastor with their disbelief in the seriousness. I was told by the pastor I needed to get away from Armenians and get back to church which I took as an insult to my survivor parents and grandparent AND all Armenian.
      You should know that my daughter was a student at Somerville High School. In her last year she brought home a permission slip to go with the school to the holocaust museum in NY. I was beside myself. I called the school demanding to know why the Armenian genocide was not included along with other genocides. In short I protested my daughters inclusion for which teachers thought I was wrong. In the end the school agreed to include genocide education. I told the school Jews were not the only people who suffered genocide. I was invited to witness the newly formed class and the teacher. I have no idea if the course is still being taught. We as parents have to stand up and demand recognition.

  3. During his entire life Nikol dreamed of abandoning Artsakh, forgetting about the Armenian Genocide, unconditionally opening Armenia’s borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey and, last but not least, bring Armenia out of Russia’s orbit. Nikol was therefore placed into power by special interests exactly for this purpose in 2018. To it’s utter disgrace, the Armenian world, both native and diasporan, preferred to keep Nikol in power not once but twice. The wonderful fruits of democracy and Westernization! Nikol is a mentally ill charlatan who is carrying-out an anti-Armenian agenda for foreign interests. And we know who these foreign interests are. It can be proven in court that Nikol and team were financed by Western (primarily US and British) AND Turkish/Azerbaijani money. Serj Sargsyan is also at fault in this matter for surrendering his power without a struggle. Russia is also at fault for allowing Armenians to get self-destructive. In any case, everything being said about Nikol and his regime by his supporters today is designed deflect blame and distract the sheeple. In other words, it’s brainwashing and political spin. And significant numbers of Armenians are falling victim to it because significant numbers of Armenians do not understand politics, international relations or history. Ultimately, Nikol is Armenia’s version of Azerbaijan’s Abulfaz Elchibey (1992), Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili (2008) and Ukraine’s Voldomor Zelninsky (current). Armenia, a tiny, landlocked and impoverished nation that was and continues to be almost totally dependent on Russia for survival – and a nation that was actually resurrected by Russia two hundred years ago – decided to bite the hand that feeds it by flirting with the West. The counterproductive nonsense known as “complimentary politics”, the dangerous notion that Armenia could play both sides of the political divide, made some sense before 2014. After 2014, however, complimentary politics would prove suicidal, as we saw during the second Artsakh war in 2020. So, no wonder Russians have no respect towards Yerevan or Armenians in general anymore. The Kremlin will therefore punish Armenia/Armenians by pulling its protective hand away just enough to bring Armenia to its knees and Armenians back to their senses, and then simply walk in as liberators. For Armenia’s sake, let’s hope that this happens sooner than later.

    The safest and most natural/organic place for Armenia to be in today is inside the Russian Federation in some form. For the past 30 years, and particularly during the past 5 years, we Armenians proved, beyond any doubt, that we as a people are simply incapable of self-rule, especially in a complex and volatile place like the south Caucasus. The past 30 years also thought us once again that there no free meals in politics; governments are a reflection of the people; politically illiteracy has a high cost; and Karma is a you know what…

  4. At your usual mantras again “Concerned Armenian” , perhaps if Russia is so great why don’t you help them in Ukraine where they are in a fix right now. How many rubles do you get or feel you deserve for your uxorious like devotion to Russia? Russia which gets on reasonably well with Turkey and Azerbaijan would be in an ideal position to help Armenia reconcile with them if Armenia is in your fantasies join with Russia would you like that?

    • Charlie,

      I guess you consume CIA and MI6 derived “news” via propaganda outlets like CNN and BBC. Despite what they have been telling you, Russia’s military has in reality been performing quite well. Russia is fighting and defeating not only the full might of Ukraine’s armed forces (considered NATO’s 2nd or 3rd most capable after the US and Turkey) but also NATO forces, and it is doing so with a fraction of its military potential. Moreover, unlike you, who only seems capable of looking at things from a financial perspective, my pro-Russian sentiments are firmly entrenched in intellectual honesty and a geniune concern for Armenia’s long term health and well being.

    • I happen to agree with Concerned. Left to our own capabilities we’ll continue to do what we did the last 30 years.

      After inheriting a powerful technologically advanced nation from the Soviet union we reduced it to a third world, poverty stricken backwater with our own hands, under Levon Ter Petrossian. There was literally no competitor to Armenia’s technical potential in 1988 for a 2,000km radius, and that’s no exaggeration.

      Whatever we were able to maintain in Artsakh up to 2018 was due to the last 2 presidents, both of who were from Artsakh. But the ‘people’ in both Armenia and the diaspora opened their hearts in 2018 and welcomed into power someone who had been printing in his family-owned newspaper for 20 years how ‘Karabagh’ is nothing but a burden and we should offer it to the turks as a gift in exchange for peace. The ‘people’ fuly deserve their fate.

      Armenia essentially has no capability anymore to defend itself thanks to the ‘people’s’ government, therefore the question remains, who do you want as your powerful ally in the region. You will only ever have 2 choices – Russia or Turkey. Real leadership entails some backbone and diplomatic capabilities – none of which this government has – to start mending the severly damaged relationship with Moscow. They’d rather bend over for their financial benefactors, the Turks.

      And don’t believe for a minute that the Russians are going to cave or lose the battle in Ukraine. It will take time and sacrifice but as a nation they will come out more consolidated and stronger than ever.

  5. How come we never hear of the famous “Bayrakdars” in the Ukraine war? What’s the matter, i wonder? We keep hearing about “Iranian” drones though.

    • Because after some embarrassing losses namely the column of Russian armour on the way to “Keeev”in tight formation that was savaged by the TB 2 drones the same type which caused much loss to Armenia in 2020 who in its harsh way showed that the losses Armenia suffered then weren’t so bad in context as the Russian military showed itself to be similarly helpless which in a backhanded way showed that attempts by the pro Russia faction to blame Pashinyan doesn’t add up as much as they assume. Improvements to Russian anti air defences and destruction of the motor sich factory in Zaporozhia seems to be the reasons

    • I’m not claiming British nor French interests were fully concordant with Armenian ones. It’s the Russia is so great and cares more about Armenia about than Armenia itself insinuation. I’m aware of the massacre of Armenians in Shushi by Azerbaijanis under British Army supervision in 1920 once the Soviet authorities took control it was for them to decide whose SSR it was to be not Britain who had withdrawn back to Iran and Iraq.

  6. Azerbaijan’s blockade of the 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh is eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s blockade of the Warsaw Ghetto, where many of the 450,000 Jews died of treatable diseases or were starved to death, before they liquidated it. Azerbaijan is pursuing exactly the same coldblooded strategy of getting rid of Armenians from their homeland. It is revolting, that this is happening again in the 21st century, and that Armenians could die from lack of medicine, operations and even from lack of food. Adding insult to injury, Pashinyan’s government sent the very aid of cash-strapped Armenia to the earthquake zone in Turkey, which is cruelly denied to the Armenians of Artsakh, who first and foremost need it. And Pashinyan still wants to make “peace” with the two genocidal terrorist states of Azerbaijan and Turkey.

    • EU USA recognize and allow free travel without visa to citizens of Bosnia and Kosovo genocidal terrorist killer of christian serbians where is justice ? lf europe usa claim to be democratic why Arab states and turkey lran indonesia member of UN steve M ?

  7. Charlie, I guess you consume CIA and MI6 derived “news” via propaganda outlets like CNN and BBC. Despite what they have been telling you, Russia’s military has in reality been performing quite well. Russia is fighting and defeating not only the full might of Ukraine’s armed forces (considered NATO’s 2nd or 3rd most capable after the US and Turkey) but also NATO forces, and it is doing so with a fraction of its military potential. Moreover, unlike you, who only seems capable of looking at things from a financial perspective, my pro-Russian sentiments are firmly entrenched in intellectual honesty and a genuine concern for Armenia’s long term health and well being.

    • To Concerned,
      If you’re pro Russian, I can honestly say that I’m not. But being pro Armenian I just think it’s more pragmatic and logical to be aligned with a nation that has religious, cultural and geopolitical goals that are aligned with ours, rather than a political West that’s more aligned with Turks and Azeri oil and gas.
      Anyone that’s not asleep can see the geopolitical shifts globally. A new pole forming involving China, Russia, Iran and recently Saudi Arabia. This alliance will continue to grow and become stronger in the next decades. Therefore Armenia has 3 choices:
      1. Align with a decaying west going through social, economic and cultural decline, only to be eventually sacrificed to their buddies the Turks
      2. Sit in the middle with complimentary politics and become the battlefield for both poles, or
      3. Join the dynamic, growing, culturally more conservative nation states whose values and geopolitical interests are better aligned with ours.
      It’s that simple once you strip away the propaganda and funding from Soros and Western NGOs.

    • Hello Concerned Armenian, thanks for your response. I do consume BBC and CNN and other sources such as South front sputnik when not blocked to get a balanced perspective. Russia has been doing alright in the scope of things, in the west we used to one sided encounters against weak foes as a benchmark. What I have tried to emphasise is that Armenia made a colossal error in not offering a compromise when in a position of strength in the 1990’s. For example India returned most of the land it captured from Pakistan in 1971 as part of a peace deal the next year. Israel withdrew from Sinai, Gaza and south Lebanon and allows a limited autonomy in parts of the west bank. Yet the relationship in these cases is still poor but it was on their own terms, Azerbaijan had eclipsed Armenia militarily BEFORE Pashinyan took office in 2018 the losses in 2016 should have been taken as a wake up call. Russia has supported Armenia but has also as it’s predecessor the Soviet Union signed away Kars and western Armenia to Turkey and assigned Arktash to Azerbaijan apparently because the roads were better linked to Baku than to Yerevan although Nax must have been better linked to Yerevan than to Baku. Not that it helps in central Asia there were contentious Soviet demarcated boundaries that weren’t supposed to matter in the brave new world of communism where racial and religious ties were supposed to become irrelevant in the Soviet utopia of course as we know this is nonsense. The protocol’s of territorial integrity are so strongly upheld by powers to be it would take a proverbial WW3 and their collapse to break the established order, like WW1 and WW2 did. I have acknowledged that sympathetic countries such as Greece, India, France and at times the USA can’t do much to help Armenia directly. After 2020 there were many anti Pashinyan factions and Russian military supporters who claimed that it was a case of i told you so with the defeat as from not being as close to Russia as in previous years. Russia’s difficulties in Ukraine shows that this appealing simplistic notion doesn’t add up as convincingly after all. There is no doubt that after having done so well in the 1990’s a resting on laurels and a hoary old guard had developed and as negotiations dragged on for years a lack of impetus developed, this is a tragedy to see the achievement being squandered and whatever settlement occurs is unlikely to be on Armenia’s terms. I would also state that Russia has stymied Armenia such as the notorious narrowing of the Iran gas pipeline from 1450mm to 700mm once it enters Armenia although there are issues with Iran in the west if it was allowed to reach it’s full potential as a transit route to Georgia it would have put Armenia in a stronger position regarding Azerbaijan in its relationship with Georgia and been a source of revenue. Russia prevented this prospect from occurring although as stated there are issues beyond Armenian control. Although this is an Armenian centered publication the conflict in Ukraine is something that can’t be ignored as it affects Russia significantly. Say if Russia looses it’s positions outside Russia will collapse and would likely be compelled either from lack of resources or by the victors demand to abrogate foreign alliances and close bases. Nevertheless it’s still too early to conclude summaries. What is clear that whilst Russia never pledged support for Armenian control of Soviet N-K let alone parts of Azerbaijan beyond thus legally didn’t fail in commitments in 2020 as part of the settlement it assumed a five year mandate to supervise access between Armenia and what remained under Armenian control and that Azerbaijan for that period was not to have any authority over access what has happened recently is a breach by Azerbaijan and a failure of Russian obligations it took on the power and responsibility and faces the liabilities (discredit, disgrace) for any failure of this. Russia relationship with Armenia has been in the confidence that issues with Turkey and Azerbaijan would remain irritractable and Armenia would be eternally grateful and tolerant of Russian friendship with Turkey and Azerbaijan to an extent which could be detrimental to Armenia. Russia has criticised recent Armenian statements that NK is part of Azerbaijan and the Armenians within need to negotiate with Baku stating it wants the issue to be resolved at another unspecified time Azerbaijan has waited long enough and will not wait any longer assuming Russian military is still based in N-K in 2025. Russia annexations in Ukraine are farcical and embarrassing some areas declared annexed it hasn’t gained control of and has been loosing control of many of the areas it claims to have annexed and has almost no recognition of internationally. My fear is regarding the status of N-K Russia can’t really help and risks giving Armenia false hopes akin to the conman I’ll be coming soon,um I have got a problem will be on my way, oh I will be coming as soon as I can, I am on my way I’ve just got another problem now, I will come I promise you honestly believe me I am your friend…

    • Gurgen,

      Armenia will not survive without Russia. No Russia in Armenia = no Armenia in the south Caucasus. Period. When it comes to independence, the south Caucasus is not the place and Armenians are not that people. Armenia’s independence from Russia will only result in Armenia’s dependence on Turkey. Ultimately, I am pro-Russian because I am an Armenian patriot. Armenia’s rightful place is in a closer union with the Russian nation. Besides, Russia is the last bastion of classical European civilization and Apostolic Christianity.

  8. Hello Concerned Armenian i wrote a reply but alas it hasn’t been uploaded. It’s democracy to be free to support the Idea of Armenia unifying with Russia it’s also democratic to explain the drawbacks and that Russia hasn’t always been the best towards Armenia. Signing away western Armenia to Turkey and assigned Arktash to Azerbaijan, and its interference with the Iran gas pipeline for example. Ps i follow various media to get a balanced perspective on matters and yes Russia whilst not doing that well isn’t doing that badly either but it’s how it ends is what matters. The great tragedy was Armenia was squandered it’s position and didn’t offer a compromise on with Azerbaijan when in a position of strength in the 1990s and since then the balance of power reversed and the catastrophe in 2020 occurred and now any settlement will not be on Armenia’s terms. Separately the protocols of territorial integrity are very strongly upheld and their ‘sacrosanct’ boundaries are likely to remain immovable until a proverbial WW3 just like WW1 and WW2 shifted boundaries

    • Bolshevik government, those who had toppled the Russian government, those who also signed away Russian territory, signed away Armenian territory as well, because Armenians at the time were anti-Bolshevik and were looking towards Western Euriope for Salvation. Please study history…

  9. Regarding who gave what territory to who: the Armenian government signed away its territories to Turks in 1920 in the Treaty of Alexandropol. The treaty left merely 10,000 square kilometers of territory for Armenians. After Bolsheviks came to the scenes, Armenia was given 29,000 square kilometers. Artsakh was given to the Azeris by the British. Cilicia was given to Turks by the French. Like I said, please study history…

  10. PS: I do agree that we Armenians squandered our opportunity to settle the dispute over Artsakh for once and for all in the 1990s. We needed to compromise. We should have at least pulled back from the 5 of the 7 territories outside of Artsakh. We should have invited into Artsakh a Russian military presence. We needed to firge closer ties to Russian and Iran. It was not to be. Our arrogance, pride, materialism, tribalism, shortsightedness, cognitive dissonance and political illiteracy came into play. We thought we were invincible. We thought we could be maximalistic. We wasted 30 years on importing western pop culture and NGOs, calling for revolutions in Armenia, and playing games with our closest and only ally. The accumulated toxicity then burst in 2018. The tragedy that followed, and still continuing, is our collective fault. Ultimately, Nikol’s toxic regime is a by-product of the materialism, tribalism, shortsightedness, egotism, political illiteracy and cognitive dissonance so prevalent in modern Armenian society.

    • Armenians have pulled out of 7, not 5 territories. Did that improve the situation?

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