Russian humanitarian aid arrived Tuesday in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh via territory controlled by Azerbaijan, separatist authorities in the Armenian-populated enclave said.
Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of spurring a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh by closing the sole road linking the mountainous territory with Armenia.
That link, the Lachin corridor, is policed by Russian peacekeepers as part of a ceasefire agreement Moscow brokered between the ex-Soviet Caucasus nations in 2020.
Baku has rejected the claim, saying Nagorno-Karabakh could receive supplies via Azerbaijani-controlled territory.
“The Russian Red Cross’s humanitarian aid was delivered to the Republic of Artsakh (on Tuesday),” the rebel government’s information centre said, using Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian name.
Azerbaijan’s Red Crescent confirmed the report, saying that the truck belonging to Russia’s Red Cross arrived in the city of Stepanakert via the Aghdam road which links the region with the rest of Azerbaijan.
Earlier in September, Azerbaijan agreed to simultaneously reopen, for humanitarian supplies, both the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road, but said Armenian separatists rejected the proposal.
Yerevan and international aid groups have warned of dire shortages of food and medicine.
Tension over aid comes as both sides blame each other for cross-border clashes.
Last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned of the risk of a fresh all-out conflict, accusing Baku of massing troops along the two countries’ shared border and near Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars for control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the last fighting in 2020 ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently said Moscow was either “unable or unwilling” to control the Lachin corridor.
Baku and Yerevan have been unable to reach a lasting peace settlement despite mediation efforts by the European Union, United States and Russia.