(Moscow) Azerbaijan announced on Sunday that it had installed a first checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only road linking Armenia to the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, an “unacceptable” decision for Yerevan.

“As of 12:00 p.m. (4:00 a.m. EST) on April 23, a border post was set up […] on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, at the entrance to the Lachin-Khankendi highway,” Azerbaijani border guards said in a statement, saying they acted “in response” to a similar decision taken by Yerevan on Saturday.

Such a measure, a first since the short war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020, was also put in place “to prevent the illegal transport of labour, weapons and mines from the territory of Armenia for illegal formations of Armenian bandits on the territory of Azerbaijan,” they said.

“On April 22, Ministry of Defense surveillance cameras recorded the entry into Azerbaijani territory of two containers for military purposes and a convoy of Armenian military vehicles, contrary to the Trilateral Declaration and the Norms and Principles international law,” supported Azerbaijani diplomacy in a statement, denouncing “provocations” from Yerevan.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry argued that the installation of a checkpoint “will serve for transparency on movements […], the rule of law, and thus, to ensure the safety and security of movements”.

According to Azerbaijani border guards, the Russian peacekeeping force, deployed in the region, and “the Russian-Turkish monitoring center” were “informed” of such a decision.

In a statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry denounced “a new provocation” with “false and baseless pretexts”.

This new step is “unacceptable”, he continued.

Armenia has also been warning for several months of a “humanitarian crisis” in Karabakh due to an Azerbaijani blockade – which Baku denies – in the Lachin Corridor area which has caused shortages of medicine and food and Power cuts.

The separatist representatives of Nagorny Karabakh have called on Moscow, mediator in the conflict, “to immediately begin discussions” in order in particular “to prevent the installation of an Azerbaijani checkpoint”.

“We expect effective measures to resolve the security problems as soon as possible” of the inhabitants of the disputed enclave, their security representatives asked in a press release.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, clashed in 2020 in a war for control of the enclave of Nagorny-Karabakh.

This conflict resulted in an Armenian military rout and a Russian-sponsored ceasefire agreement.

Clashes in Nagorny-Karabakh or on the border between the two countries, however, continue to break out periodically.

On Sunday, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported the death of one of its soldiers “as a result of enemy fire” in the late morning near the border.

The Azerbaijani Minister of Defense for his part “denied” this “false” information, saying that he had “come under Armenian fire” in the afternoon.

“Adequate response measures have been taken,” it said in a statement, without further details.

A mountainous region populated mainly by Armenians and having seceded from Azerbaijan upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nagorno-Karabakh continues to poison relations between Yerevan and Baku, despite Russian, European and American attempts to mediate .

The first conflict, in the early 1990s at the time of the dismantling of the USSR, which left 30,000 dead, ended in an Armenian victory with the support of Moscow.

But Azerbaijan took its revenge in the fall of 2020 in a second war, which left 6,500 dead and allowed it to retake many territories.