The Russian plane carrying 44 Armenian POWs landed in Yerevan’s Erebuni airport.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have began the process of exchanging prisoners of war (POWs), Russian RIA Novosti reports, citing official Baku.
Both sides had previously stated that they were ready to exchange prisoners on a “all for all” basis. This principle is important for Baku and refers to spies captured in Karabakh before the 2020 war.
On December 5, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that a principle had been agreed that everyone should be exchanged, including those captured before the war.
The Karabakh Human Rights Defender’s Office reports that it has identified about 60 prisoners of war from various videos, only a small part of whom have not yet been identified.
The trilateral agreement signed by heads of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia did not include deadlines for the exchange of bodies or POWs.
A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Azerbaijani forces have inhumanely treated numerous ethnic Armenian military troops captured in the Karabakh conflict. In most of the videos, the captors’ faces are visible, suggesting that they did not fear being held accountable, HRW notes.
At the end of 2019, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov announced that Armenia had refused to exchange prisoners on the principle of “all for all.”
At that time, Azerbaijan wanted to exchange Azerbaijani saboteurs Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov with Armenian citizen Karen Ghazaryan and Karabakh soldier Arayik Ghazaryan.
On June 29, 2014, Guliyev and Asgarov, armed with weapons and ammunition, illegally crossed the Karabakh border for reconnaissance operations.
Asgarov was sentenced by a Karabakh court to life imprisonment, and Guliyev to 22 years in prison for murder of a teenager, illegal crossing of the border, and espionage.