Azerbaijan is ready to release an Armenian soldier who was detained by its troops near Nagorno-Karabakh on August 8, a senior official in Baku reiterated on Wednesday.
Azerbaijani news agencies quoted Shahin Sailov, the secretary of a government commission on prisoners of war and missing persons, as saying that Hakob Injighulian will be free to return to Armenia or take refuge in a third country after the Azerbaijani authorities determine the reasons why he crossed the “line of contact” around Karabakh. He would not say when that inquiry will be over.
“Yesterday officials from the Azerbaijani office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met with the captive,” Sailov. said. “It may have become clear yesterday whether he wants to return to his or a third country. Everything depends on his own desire.”
The ICRC gave no details of its Baku representatives’ visit to Injighulian. It said only that they handed him a letter from his family.
The Armenian military says that Injighulian crossed the Karabakh frontline by accident and will not face criminal charges in case of his repatriation. It has also expressed readiness to swap him for an Azerbaijani soldier who crossed into Armenia in July 2012. The Azerbaijani side has not yet responded to that offer.