Five Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) were flown to Yerevan by a Russian plane and immediately taken to a military hospital for examination late on Tuesday.
According to Lieutenant-General Rustam Muradov, the commander of Russian peacekeeping forces stationed in Karabakh, Armenia repatriated an Azerbaijani captive earlier in the day.
Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian thanked Muradov for facilitating Armenian-Azerbaijani prisoner exchanges and assisting in the continuing search for missing Armenian soldiers when they met in Yerevan on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that two of the Armenian servicemen freed on Tuesday were taken prisoner during the war. The official said the three others were among 62 soldiers captured in early December when the Azerbaijani army seized the last two Armenian-controlled villages in Karabakh’s Hadrut district.
Azerbaijani officials branded those soldiers as “saboteurs” and “terrorists” last month, signaling Baku’s intention to prosecute them on relevant charges. Yerevan condemned those plans as a gross violation of international law and the Karabakh ceasefire agreement.
The latest exchange brought to 64 the total number of Armenian POWs and civilians freed by Azerbaijan to date. More than 100 others are believed to remain in Azerbaijani captivity.
For its part, the Armenian side has released 16 Azerbaijanis.