JANUARY 16, ARTSAKHPRESS. State Minister of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Head of the Operational Headquarters charged with coordinating the response to the blockade Ruben Vardanyan chaired a meeting of the headquarters on January 16.
Vardanyan delivered a briefing on the situation and said that the ongoing blockade is causing new challenges, Vardanyan’s office said in a statement.
“The blockade is changing the economy and the state’s priorities,” Vardanyan said. “The state already has to respond to the issues emerging in the economic and social sectors resulting from the blockade, revising its work, approach and directions.”
He added that at the same time the blockade and the subsequent crisis force the state to ration existing resources and uncover all problems, including pertaining to the shadow economy, and to introduce more effective administration models.
Vardanyan ordered a special task force to develop a socio-economic relief program.
Officials briefed Vardanyan on the course of introducing the food coupon rationing system and said that the work is proceeding according to schedule. Explanatory and training work will be conducted with suppliers and retailers to ensure a swift introduction of the system. A number of essential products will be sold by coupons through 200 stores in Stepanakert and another 400 stores elsewhere across the country.
Vardanyan attached importance to raising awareness among the public along with the introduction of the system.
The energy-supply situation was also addressed. The energy supply from Armenia to Artsakh is still disrupted because Azerbaijan keeps barring repair crews from accessing the site of the damage for inspection. The site of the damage is in Azeri-controlled territory.
Starting January 17, the rolling blackouts will be conducted under 4-hour intervals instead of the current 2-hour, in order to ensure the minimal energy demand for the population for as long as possible. Officials also briefed on the situation in the food, medicine and diesel fuel markets. As a result of the implemented actions the tension in terms of cash turnover has been reduced.
Azerbaijan is keeping the Lachin Corridor blocked since December 12, 2022. The corridor is Nagorno Karabakh’s(Artsakh) only road to Armenia and the rest of the world. The blockade has caused an ongoing humanitarian crisis with widespread shortages of essential supplies such as food and medicine. Furthermore, on January 9 the electricity transmission line supplying energy from Armenia to Artsakh was damaged in the area controlled by Azerbaijan. Since then, Azerbaijan has been barring repair crews from accessing the site. On January 12, an internet blackout was reported in Artsakh. The internet cable was damaged in the area where the fake eco-activists are blocking the corridor. A day later, as a result of negotiations conducted by Russian peacekeepers, repair crews were allowed to access the site and internet was restored. The corridor remains blocked.