EU expresses concern over Artsakh gas outages
The EU's lead spokesperson for external affairs has said Azeri gas supplies to the Armenia-aligned breakaway state Republic of Artsakh must be "urgently" restored to avoid affecting the local population.
In a tweet sent on March 23, lead spokesperson Peter Stano called on Azerbaijan's authorities to restore gas flows through the link, which comes after repair works led to it being offline from March 8 to 19.
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"There is an urgent need to ensure the immediate resumption of the gas supply to the affected local population, in particular in the context of the dire weather conditions, and the EU calls on the authorities in control to allow this to happen," Stano said in a press statement.
The gas route should deliver supplies to Stepanakert, or Khankendi in Azerbaijani, which lies in Artsakh-controlled territory. The previous shutdown resulted in power outages due to residents turning to electric-powered heaters, during a cold snap with unusually cool temperatures, according to Eurasia.net.
Republic of Artsakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but in effect seceded after a disputed referendum in 1991. The area is predominantly Armenian and has been the central flashpoint for fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia on two occasions, most recently in 2020, when Baku reclaimed some Artsakh territory.