Protests by Azerbaijani environmental activists on the Shusha-Lachin road continues as Russian troops are blocking the road.

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Shusha: The protests by the Azerbaijani public and environmental activists on the Shusha-Lachin road, has been continuing since December 12th. The demonstrations are the result of the “rightful dissatisfaction of the Azerbaijani public with the illegal economic activity, looting of natural resources, and damage to the environment in the territories of Azerbaijan in which Russian peacekeepers are deployed.

Azerbaijani ecologists representing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) early on Monday protested against the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the region where a Russian peacekeeping contingent is stationed temporarily. The protestors have chanted slogans demanding an end to the plundering of natural resources.

The protests are held on the Lachin-Shusha road, where activists have set up tents and have refused to leave until they are permitted to enter the region where two mines are located.

Previously, following the negotiations with the Russian peacekeeper’s 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 on December 10, was going to begin the preliminary monitoring in accordance with the illegal exploitation of mineral deposits, as well as the emerging environmental and other consequences of this on the territory of Azerbaijan.

It was planned to inspect the environmental conditions at the ‘Gizilbulagh’ 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. The planned initial inspection and monitoring did not take place due to the fact that the Russian peacekeepers not only did not create necessary conditions and prevented for the entire process to carry on.

On Sunday December 11th 2022, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan sent a diplomatic note to Russia concerning the “illegal exploitation” of natural resources in the liberated Karabakh region, as its officials were prevented from entering the area a day before.

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