Reports surface of more Armenian servicemen captured in Karabakh despite truce
The Armenian media has reported that new prisoners have been taken in the Karabakh conflict zone, news which has been reported by the Armenian PM as well as the president of Karabakh and the NK Ombudsman.
The situation in Nagorno Karabakh and in the territories around it since the signing of the trilateral statement on the cessation of hostilities raises many questions. Armenian political analysts initially assessed this document as ‘raw’, and signed in time trouble. And now there are problems that the parties are unable to resolve in accordance with the points of the agreement; lengthy additional negotiations are being held.
These negotiations pertain, in particular, to which settlements remain under the control of the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides and where the Russian peacekeepers brought into the conflict zone should be located.
The fact of the capture of the Armenian servicemen is apparently connected with these issues.
What is known at this time, all the details of the latest incident with the capture of Armenian soldiers.
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What the media is reporting
First, a video appeared on social media in which unarmed Armenian soldiers walk in an unknown direction, accompanied by Azerbaijani soldiers.
At the same time, the press service of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army reported that on December 15 in the evening, in unknown conditions, communication with the personnel of several military positions located in the direction of Hadrut was lost.
It was said that with the mediation of the Russian peacekeepers, steps are being taken to find out whether the Armenian servicemen have been captured.
Armenian media sources reported that the incident took place near one of the villages of the Hadrut region. Various figures were reported on how many people were in captivity. The total may be as many as 100.
But there is also information that 150 people were captured by Azerbaijan, and all of them are from the Shirak region of Armenia.
Russian peacekeepers surrounded
In an interview with RFE/RL, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan commented on the incident with the prisoners, and said that Russian peacekeepers had also been surrounded by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces:
“Due to the location, as well as in connection with the circumstances, there are certain problems with communication, and the Russian peacekeepers also have such problems, we have a certain crisis situation there.”
Commentary of NK President, Ombudsman
Artak Beglaryan wrote on his Facebook page that regarding information about the new Armenian prisoners of war, he contacted a number of authorities and the military on the ground.
According to his preliminary data, in the direction of the Hadrut region, a subdivision, which included about 60 servicemen, disappeared.
Arayik Harutyunyan made an address on December 16, in which security issues took a special place. He stressed that at this moment, after the signing of the trilateral agreement, the line of contact with the Azerbaijani side became two and a half times longer – with the same limited human and technical resources. However, the NK President assures that everything possible is being done to neutralize all security challenges.
He also confirmed that several dozen servicemen were captured, and the Ministry of Defense is investigating the circumstances of the initiator:
“Taking into account the peacekeeping mandate of Russia in Artsakh, it is obvious that violations of the provisions of the trilateral statement of November 9 and the formed line of contact represent a clear disrespect for Russia’s mediation efforts and the peacekeeping mandate.”