Azerbaijani eco-activists, NGO reps continue protest over Russian peacekeepers' inaction

Geopolitics Materials 13 December 2022 09:27
Baku, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani eco-activists, NGO reps continue protest over Russian peacekeepers' inaction

Since the early morning of December 12, representatives of the Azerbaijani ecological and non-governmental organizations have been picketing the Shusha section of the Khankandi-Lachin road in an effort to make the Russian peacekeeping mission in the region to ensure the secure monitoring by experts from Baku of natural deposits in the area being illegally exploited by the local separatists, Azernews reports.

After a march by a group of eco-activists to the venue was prevented by the Russian peacekeepers, they started gathering outside the Russian post near Shusha to demand the arrival of the peacekeeping contingent's commander Andrei Volkov to the scene for a meeting with the pickets.

The commander's failure to meet the protesters' demand compelled the Azerbaijani eco-activists to continue with their picketing of the venue until he meets the people on the scene. After almost a day-long picketing of the road, no reports were available about the arrival of the Russian commander at the scene to respond to the legitimate concerns of the eco-activists and representatives of the public.

New tents for the participants in the protest action were set up on the Shusha-Khankandi road. Despite the dark time of the day and frosty weather, the protest action of environmentalists and NGO representatives on the Shusha-Khankandi road continues in the early hours of December 13.

The protesters have been chanting slogans in defense of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, against the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan’s natural resources.

The protesters are also against the inadmissibility of Azerbaijani specialists to the territory to monitor the illicit exploitation of Azerbaijani deposits.

Previously, following the talks with the Russian peacekeepers' command on December 3 and 7, 2022, a group of experts from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the State Property Service under the Ministry of Economy, and AzerGold CJSC were going to begin preliminary monitoring of the illicit mineral resource exploitation, as well as emerging environmental implications on Azerbaijani lands, where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, on December 10, 2022.

The expert team was expected to inspect the environmental condition at the Qizilbulaq gold deposit and the Damirli copper-molybdenum deposit, monitor various areas, organize cadastral property records, assess potential risks and threats to the environment, as well as to underground and surface water sources.

However, despite the group's arrival, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, in the monitoring area, it faced provocations in both directions. Thus, the planned initial inspection and monitoring did not take place due to the fact that Russian peacekeepers not only did not create the necessary conditions for this but also participated in a deliberate violation of this process.