In response to the recent statements by the de facto Nagorno Karabakh (NK) authorities about the construction of a third road into the territory, Azeri defence officials released a statement on 11 June, which stressed that as a result of “successful operations between 2016-2018” roads leading into Nagorno Karabakh from Armenia are currently under their surveillance and “control” (sic), as a result, the “adversary” (sic) needs to build new roads. The statement concluded stating that Azerbaijan has the capacity to reach all infrastructure within the “enemy’s” (sic) territory.
Its worth mentioning, that in 2018 reports from Azerbaijan stated that they had taken control of new heights within the exclave of Nakhichevan, permitting them further observation capacity over the Armenian village of Areni, which lies on the major north-south highway leading to Iran and Karabakh. While no major operations were reported near the second road, completed in 2017, linking northern NK with Armenia.
Armenia authorities and their counterparts in NK had planned the construction of a third road linking the two previously, in 2019 news of that possibility sparked criticism from neighbour Azerbaijan. The first road was built in between 1997-1998, the second in 2017, and this year, a 150 km road planned from southern Armenia to southern NK territory is planned to start.
According to expert Joshua Kucera, the third road can complicate negotiations further, as it runs through territories considered “non-negotiable” by Azerbaijan.