The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry warned Armenia on Tuesday against interfering in the country's internal affairs, particularly in the Karabakh region.
In a statement, the ministry also slammed Armenian officials for spreading “false information” by claiming that Azerbaijan's establishment of a border checkpoint on the 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) Lachin road caused "a humanitarian catastrophe" and hampered work on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
On Monday, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at a press conference with Leo Docherty, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Europe, in the capital Yerevan accused Azerbaijan of blocking the Lachin road and committing "ethnic cleansing."
According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Armenian residents, the ICRC, and the Russian peacekeeping contingent pass through the checkpoint in both directions in a transparent and regulated manner.
"Armenia must abandon its efforts to mislead the international community with its narratives," the ministry warned, urging Armenian officials to avoid "dangerous rhetoric that jeopardizes the region's peace and stability."
At the same time, the statement said, Armenia's encouragement of sending international missions to Azerbaijan's territory and an impediment to Baku's dialogue with Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region is regarded as interference in the country's internal affairs.
“If Armenia stands for peace and tranquility in the region, it must end such interferences,” the ministry stressed.
In response to claims about Armenian war prisoners in Azerbaijan, the ministry stated that "groups sent by Yerevan after the war to commit military provocations on Azerbaijani territory... are not prisoners of war."
"Demonstrating benevolence, Azerbaijan has returned almost half of the persons from this group to Armenia, and the Armenian side refuses to return two Azerbaijani servicemen who got lost and crossed over to the territory of Armenia, arranging a show trial over them, thereby undermining confidence-building efforts," it said.
*Writing by Elena Teslova