Armenia and Azerbaijan both release detainees

Two Azerbaijani servicemen, Teymour Aladdin Huseynov and Murad Mikayil Mustafayev, who were detained on 18 December after crossing into Armenian territory were returned to the Azerbaijani side on 20 December. A statement by the Armenian Ministry of Defence said that it had been done “for humanitarian reasons and with the mediation of the Russian Federation”.

This comes the day after 10 Armenian servicemen were released by Azerbaijan following mediation by the EU. The detainees were flown to Yerevan on a plane accompanied by the EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar. Klaar said in a Twitter post that this was an “important gesture by in the process of addressing humanitarian issues”, and that the EU would continue to work with both countries to build on the successful meetings between the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The Armenian foreign ministry reports the names of the servicemen as “Galstyan Hrachik, Dolanyan Mkrtich, Harutyunyan Gagik, Poghosyan Radik, Ghevondyan Andranik, Nazaryan Artur, Shahinyan Marat, Petrosyan Sevek, Stepanyan Karlen and Vasilyan Hayk”.

Michel, also tweeted his approval of the move, stating that he “warmly welcomes Baku’s release of 10 Armenian detainees in follow up to discussions with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan”, adding that it was an important humanitarian gesture demonstrating the mutual will to strengthen confidence as discussed in Brussels.

source: and agencies
photo: Toivo Klaar, with the 10 Armenian servicemen returned to Yerevan; Twitter account of Toivo Klaar