Azerbaijan, Armenia exchange prisoners as part of peace deal
By Vafa Ismayilova
A Russian peacekeeping commander has said that Azerbaijan and Armenia have exchanged prisoners of war for the second time since the signing of the Karabakh peace deal in November 2020, Interfax Azerbaijan reported on February 9.
"As a result of the work carried out by the Russian peacekeepers under my personal control, a Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft delivered to Baku one [Azerbaijani] who was in captivity and five [Armenian] prisoners returned to Yerevan," Commander of Russian peacekeepers Rustam Muradov said.
The prisoners were exchanged in line with the trilateral peace agreement signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10. The peace deal stipulates the exchange of prisoners as well as bodies of soldiers following the 44-day war from September 27 to November 10.
The prisoner swap was facilitated by Russian peacekeepers that have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh under the peace agreement.
The first exchange took place on December 14 based on "all for all" principle to mutually return prisoners of war and hostages agreed with Armenia as a result of negotiations with the participation of international organizations and Russian peacekeeping forces. Fourteen Azerbaijani and 44 Armenian prisoners returned to their countries as part of the swap.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to 44 days of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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