Updated: Armenian soldier crosses line of contact, moves into Azerbaijani territory
13 August 12.30
The Minister of Defence of Armenia has commented on the situation:
“At this stage, an investigation is underway. But I’m personally sure that our soldier got lost.”
David Tonoyan stated that the Azerbaijani media’s claims that Arayik Ghazaryan said that he had abandoned his post because of “oppression” in his military unit was “nothing more than the usual propaganda of the Azerbaijani side”. He called on Baku to stop what he says is a false information campaign.
The Minister of Defence said that the Armenian side had already appealed to a number of international organizations including the Red Cross to ensure that the rights of the Armenian soldier are ensured and that he is returned home.
An Armenian army serviceman deserted his combat position and moved onto Azerbaijani territory earlier today on August 12: just under what circumstances this took place is not yet known.
Information from Yerevan
The Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army confirms that an Armenian soldier has moved onto Azerbaijani territory:
“On August 12, at about 12:00, serviceman Arayik Ghazaryan, born in the year 2000, moved from a zone protected by one of the units of the Defense Army in the south-east.”
Armenian experts are still refraining from commenting on the event as there is not enough information.
Social media too is also quite – the few speaking about the issue say:
• the incident will be used by the Azerbaijani side in order to ‘chip away’ at the Armed Forces of Nagorno-Karabakh,
• Arayik Ghazaryan will be declared a deserter and saboteur.
Who is Arayik Ghazaryan?
Ghazaryan is 19 years old, and was drafted in the beginning of the year in January.
As already reported by Armenian media, Arayik has a brother who is in contract service in the Armed Forces of Armenia.
It is also reported that the soldier was recently on vacation and returned to the army in a good mood – he did not complain about service, everyday life in the army or relations with fellow soldiers, moreover, he spoke well of his military unit.
Information from Baku
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence officially stated that on the morning of August 12, an Armenian soldier Aro Ghazaryan was detained in the the Fizuli region of the front.
Ghazaryan was interrogated – he allegedly said that he had deserted his military unit because of the “arbitrariness, unbearable and inhumane attitude towards military personnel”, Report.az writes, noting that numerous wounds and bruises were found on the head and body of Ghazaryan and that he was provided with medical care.
An investigation into the matter continues – currently, there is no other information in public domain at the time of publication.
The reaction of Facebook users can be divided into: aggression, sympathy for the young soldier and the hypothesis that Ghazaryan is trying to emigrate to a third country.