Stepanakert airport to start operating soon, minister says

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YEREVAN, January 15. /ARKA/. The airport in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) capital Stepanakert is expected to be used soon, Artsakh Foreign Minister David Babayan said in an interview with the Public Television of Armenia.

He added that at the initial stage it will be used by Russian peacekeepers,.

“I think that the airport will be operated, it just takes time. At the moment, in my opinion, first of all, it will be operated as a military facility by the peacekeepers to ensure their needs and security issues,” Babayan said.

After that, he said, steps and actions will be taken so that this facility can be used for civilian purposes as well.

The airport in Stepanakert was built in 1974 with planes flying to Azerbaijani and Armenian capitals Baku and Yerevan.

During the Karabakh conflict in the early 90s, the airport served for military needs. Then it was not exploited. After the reconstruction, the airport was technically ready for operation in 2012, however, Baku warned that it would consider flights to Stepanakert as a violation of Azerbaijan’s airspace.

In 2013 Azerbaijani government authorized its air force to shoot down any aircraft flying above Karabakh without Baku’s permission.

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