Humanitarian Crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh: Day 44 of Siege on the Armenians of Artsakh - Commonwealth Club – World Affairs of California
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Humanitarian Crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh: Day 44 of Siege on the Armenians of Artsakh

January 25, 2023: A discussion about the rapidly unfolding humanitarian crisis in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh—and how we can help.

January 25, 2023

7:00—8:30 PM PT

World Affairs Center

World Affairs

Milk delivered to markets in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, vanishes like lightning, writes journalist Marut Vanyan. Potatoes are now a luxury. In between rolling blackouts and gas shutoffs, mothers wait in line for diapers and baby formula, but come up empty handed.

January 25 marks 44 days since Azerbaijani government-supported protesters blockaded a key highway connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the outside world. The blockade has created a humanitarian crisis for 120,000 Armenians living in the region and has sparked new fears of war.

Nagorno-Karabakh, known to Armenians as Artsakh, is a disputed breakaway region located between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The closure of the road is part of a broad push by Azerbaijan to take advantage of the geopolitical situation in Eurasia. Armenia’s main ally in the region, Russia, is preoccupied with its war in Ukraine, and Russian peacekeepers appear unwilling to help unblock the corridor. Meanwhile, the European Union has embraced Azerbaijan as part of its efforts to wean the West off of Russian oil. International pressure to lift the blockade continues to mount, yet the Azeri regime has ignored the calls to end the siege.

As this humanitarian crisis unfolds, we ask: what is the role of the European Union, the United States and Russia in taking action and exerting influence to open the road? And what can we do to end the emergency for the people of Armenia and Artsakh?


Dr. David Akopyan, formerly with the UN Development Programme, advisor to the President of Armenia, and serves on the board of the Applied Policy Research Institute of Armenia think tank.
Dr. Dzovinar Derderian, Interim Executive Director of the Armenian Studies Program, UC Berkeley Department of History
Roxanne Makasdjian, Executive Director, The Genocide Education Project
Stephan Pechdimaldji, Senior Vice President, Corporate & Public Affairs at Edelman
Ruben Vardanyan, the State Minister of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh


Dr. Yervant Zorian, Artsakh Task Force Chair

Image courtesy of Davit Ghahramanyan/Agence France-Presse — © Getty Images