Russian peacekeepers have have denied entry to Azerbaijani journalists going to the village of Ivanyan (Khojaly) near the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) capital of Stepanakert, Azerbaijani media reported.
The commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh, Major General Andrei Volkov ordered that Azerbaijani journalists accompanying a monitoring group consisting of employees of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) of Azerbaijan, the State Property Service under the Ministry of Economy and AzerGold CJSC, not be allowed into the territory. Volkov did not let the media cover negotiations between the monitoring group of Azerbaijan and the leadership of the peacekeeping contingent in Khojaly.
Media representatives who crossed the checkpoint under the control of peacekeepers were able to advance in the direction of Stepanakert, but the Russian military, using additional forces and blocking the way for journalists, made them go back.
The reports come on the heels of an incident, which involved a group of Azerbaijanis blocking the highway connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh and citing "environmental reasons". The road was unblocked after three hours of negotiations with the Karabakh authorities and the Russian peacekeeping mission.