By Vafa Ismayilova
A group of Armenian servicemen have gone AWOL after a riot on the territory of a unit they served. Earlier they showed reluctance to return to service from vacation, Armenian news sources have reported.
On February 23, a group of servicemen and their relatives tried to prevent soldiers from returning to their places of permanent deployment, as a result of which there were riots on the territory of the unit, and some soldiers, taking advantage of the situation, left the unit without permission, the Armenian Defence Ministry press service reported.
The command of the unit ordered an official investigation into the case, the military police are looking for the deserted soldiers, and criminal cases will be filed against them, the news sources said.
It was reported in early February that Armenia’s law-enforcement agencies had launched criminal cases against over 10,000 people on charges of desertion during the war with Azerbaijan last year, namely for abandoning their combat positions and fleeing the battlefield.
It should be noted that in late January, a group of Armenians who joined the war as volunteers gathered outside the Armenian Defence Ministry demanding an explanation of why they, like the others, have not been paid compensation so far. One of the protesters said that about 2,700 people are in the same situation - they are not registered in any of the military units, but all of them took part in the hostilities.
According to official reports, 3,439 Armenian soldiers died during the Second Karabakh War with Azerbaijan. Some Armenian analysts believe that Armenia’s military losses in the recent war with Azerbaijan are much higher than the official figure presented by Yerevan. Earlier, the Caspian Defence Studies Institute estimated that Armenia’s losses in the war reached 6,000 servicemen, while the number of injured made up 8,000.
It should be noted that the bodies of 1,379 Armenians have so far been found on Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation.
Azerbaijan’s losses in the 44-day war with Armenia are 2,855, according to the information provided by the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry on January 18. In addition, 50 Azerbaijani soldiers are still missing.
Armenia and Azerbaijan started the second war over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region on September 27. Six weeks of fighting ended with the signing of a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10.
The deal stipulates the exchange of prisoners as well as bodies of soldiers following the war. The peace agreement also stipulated the return of Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions to Azerbaijan’s control. Before the signing of the agreement, Azerbaijan had liberated around 300 city centres, settlements and villages, including historic Shusha city.
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