Azerbaijan returns 3 POWs to Armenia
YEREVAN. May 4 (Interfax) - Three Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) were returned to Armenia from Azerbaijan thanks to Russia's efforts on Tuesday, Boris Avakyan, former deputy director of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's Emergency Situations Service, said.
"Three Armenian captives were returned from Azerbaijan to Armenia today. We must be grateful to the Russian leadership. It was made possible thanks to the exceptional efforts of the government, the leadership, the Defense Ministry of Russia, and the commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, Gen. Rustam Muradov, also made a tremendous contribution," Avakyan told journalists at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said earlier in an interview with foreign and local media outlets that Baku handed over all POWs to Armenia. At the same time he said that over 60 Armenian servicemen, who are being held in Azerbaijan after getting into the region following the cessation of hostilities, are saboteurs and are not considered POWs.
Avakyan is involved in the return of 62 Armenians who were captured following the signing of the trilateral agreement on Karabakh on November 9, 2020.
In late April, he was dismissed as deputy director of Karabakh's Emergency Situations Service after criticizing the Armenian leadership for inadequate work on returning captives.