Azerbaijan detains and later releases another Armenian soldier for crossing the border
Azerbaijan has detained and later released an Armenian soldier for crossing the border earlier today, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has reported. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry explained that the suspected attempt at sabotage has not been confirmed and the soldier crossed the border by accident, after getting lost in the fog:
“The Azerbaijani side has once again demonstrated humanism and ensured the return of a person who did not commit a crime against our country”, the Ministry’s latest statement reads.
In its initial statement earlier today the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that a reconnaissance and sabotage group of the armed forces of Armenia violated the border in the Lachin sector:
“According to the preliminary investigation, the task of the enemy’s reconnaissance and sabotage group was to mine our territories. At present, the information on the detained saboteur is being clarified”, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.
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Artur Katanyan is the seventh serviceman of the Armed Forces of Armenia detained by Azerbaijan in the last few weeks.
Reaction of the Armenian Defense Ministry
The Armenian Defense Ministry confirmed that Artur Katanyan, a contract serviceman of the Armenian Armed Forces, was in the territory controlled by Azerbaijan. In its statement, the Ministry emphasized that Katanyan got lost in the area because of the fog.
Thus, the Armenian Ministry of Defense denies that the detainee is a “saboteur”:
“The statement of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claiming that A. Katanyan is a saboteur does not correspond to reality”.
Fate of six other detained Armenian servicemen remains unknown
On the morning of May 27, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that six servicemen of Armenia were taken, prisoner, and Armenia later confirmed this information.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that “saboteurs” were taken prisoner in the Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan.
However, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the servicemen were surrounded and taken prisoner while carrying out engineering works on the territory of Armenia.
12 days have passed since the soldiers were captured, but no additional information has been given by Azerbaiajn on their current status.
Trial over 62 Armenian soldiers
A trial began in Baku on criminal cases launched against Armenian servicemen. 62 Armenian soldiers were captured on the territory of the Khojavend (Martuni) region in December 2020, after the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh.
On June 7, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan announced the beginning of a trial against 13 of the detained Armenian soldiers. Prior to that, the first court hearing was held on the cases concerning another 14 detained servicemen of the Armed Forces of Armenia.
Three of the detainees were returned to Armenia with the participation of the commander-in-chief of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh, Rustam Muradov.