Broadband Internet service in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) was reportedly disrupted on Thursday one month after Azerbaijan blocked the region’s land link with Armenia.
Local residents could only access the Internet on their mobile phones. They complained that the connection is slow and erratic.
The Karabakh Telecom operator said it stopped providing the service through its fixed-line network because of a cut in a fiber-optic cable running from Armenia through Azerbaijani-controlled territory. It did not comment on the cause of the disruption.
Citing iformation received from Karabakh Telecom, Armenia’s human rights ombudswoman said the cable was damaged in the Lachin Corridor that has been blocked by Azerbaijani protesters since December 12.
The Internet outage came three days after a high-voltage line transmitting electricity from Armenia to Artsakh was knocked down for still unknown reasons. According to the authorities in Stepanakert, the accident occurred near the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Lachin.
The authorities say that Baku is not allowing Artsakh specialists to visit the area and repair the transmission line. They suspect that the disruption, which resulted in power shortages in Artakh, was an act of sabotage aimed at aggravating the effects of the Azerbaijani blockade.
Local residents grappled with rolling power cuts for the third consecutive day. The blackouts are especially challenging for residents of Stepanakert and other Artakh towns who use electricity to heat their homes.
They have also been struggling with growing shortages of food, medicine and other essential products that were imported to Artaskh from or through Armenia. Earlier this week, the Artakh government decided to ration some of these items to ensure their even distribution to the population.