By Mark Dovich
Armenia will begin construction next month on its section of an alternative route to the vital Lachin corridor that connects Armenia and Karabakh, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure said Friday.
“In response to media inquiries, we inform that work on the reconstruction of the Tegh-Kornidzor road will launch in August,” the ministry announced in a short statement. No other details were made immediately available.
The Lachin corridor is a strategically important strip of land surrounding a road patrolled by Russian peacekeepers that runs between Armenia and the part of Karabakh remaining under Armenian control. As a result of Azerbaijan’s territorial gains in the 2020 war, it became the only overland connection between Armenia and Karabakh.
The ceasefire ending the war says a new road should be built that also connects Armenia and Karabakh, while bypassing the town of Lachin and village of Aghavno, which lie along the current route. Once the alternative road is completed, Azerbaijan is meant to take control of those lands, and Russian peacekeepers are supposed to relocate to the new road.
The new route is set to start in the Armenian border village of Kornidzor and then, after crossing into Karabakh, will run through the villages of Hin Shen and Mets Shen. After that, it will link up with the portion of the old road leading to Stepanakert.
The ceasefire calls for “a plan for the construction” of the new road to “be determined within the next three years,” without specifying which side should take on the responsibility and cost of building it.
But as officials in Yerevan and Stepanakert have largely kept up their silence on the issue, Baku has taken the lead on the project, with Azerbaijani construction crews already making significant progress building the section of the route that lies in Karabakh.
The section of the new road that the Armenian government will build lies entirely within Armenia and will link the border villages of Tegh and Kornidzor. The Lachin corridor currently begins at Tegh before crossing into Karabakh.