Baku hands over five Armenian servicemen to Yerevan
By Vugar Khalilov
Baku has handed over five detained Armenian servicemen to Yerevan, Trend reported on October 19, quoting an unnamed source in Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry.
Armenian citizens Mels Ambardanyan, Rafik Karapetyan, Zhora Manukyan, Ovsep Manukyan and Sedrak Sogomonyan were returned to Armenia through the mediation of Russian peacekeepers, Coordinator of the Information Center for Azerbaijani Captives and Hostages Ahmad Shahidov told Trend.
The Armenian soldiers accompanied by Russian general Rustam Muradov were taken from Baku to Yerevan by plane, the report added.
The servicemen, who had illegally crossed into the Azerbaijani border in Khojavand region, were detained by the Azerbaijani security forces near liberated Hadrut settlement.
The source underlined that the Armenian servicemen had not been involved in grave crimes against the Azerbaijani army or civilians.
At least, a part of the captured soldiers are members of two reconnaissance and sabotage groups detained on May 27, 2021, in Kalbajar while attempting to enter Azerbaijan’s territory.
The group members had illegally crossed into Azerbaijan’s territory after the signing of the November 10 trilateral statement that ended the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They were disarmed as a result of the anti-terrorist operation held by the Azerbaijani State Security Service. The Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced each of the detainees to four years in prison.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to six weeks 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.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions and urged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city.
Earlier, Azerbaijan handed over more than 70 prisoners of war to Armenia. It should be noted that Armenia has failed to provide any information about more than 4,000 Azerbaijani citizens who went missing during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war in the early 1990s. At the same time, Armenia does not provide information about the Azerbaijani citizens who were in captivity during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war.
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