We cannot turn a blind eye to illegal economic activities in the Azerbaijani territories where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed [in accordance with a trilateral statement signed between Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders following the 2020 Second Karabakh War], employees of the ‘Ecosphere’ Socio-Ecological Center Zhalia Ismayilova said during the protests of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) near Shusha, close to the post of peacekeepers, Trend reports from the scene.
“We have been protesting for the third straight day. Our goals and requirements remain unchanged – to stop the illegal use of our country’s natural resources and ecological terror,” Ismayilova noted.
She stressed that during the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, deliberate arson of lands was committed, and valuable species of trees were cut down. Wastes from Armenian copper-molybdenum plants are still dumped into the Okhchuchay river.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to all this and therefore we will stand to the end until we achieve our goal,” the NGO’s representative concluded.
The rally is being held against the inadmissibility of Azerbaijani specialists to the territory, to monitor the illegal exploitation of deposits in the area.
Previously, following the negotiations with the Russian peacekeepers’ 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 but also prevented for the entire process to carry on.