YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian officials accused Azerbaijan on Friday, April 9, of reneging on a pledge to free Armenian soldiers and civilians remaining in Azerbaijani captivity five months after a Russian-brokered ceasefire stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian government representatives said late on Thursday that a new group of Armenian prisoners is about to be set free and repatriated. However, none of them was on board a Russian plane that arrived from Baku to Yerevan shortly after midnight.
“Unfortunately, the return of prisoners is again delayed,” the office of Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said in a statement posted on Facebook. It said that Azerbaijan is continuing to violate one of the key terms of the truce agreement.
“Negotiations mediated by Russia are continuing and we hope that the Azerbaijani side will at last respect the statement signed by it and implement the humanitarian agreement,” added the statement.
Andranik Kocharyan, a senior lawmaker representing the ruling My Step bloc, said that Baku pledged to free more Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian captives as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest conversations with Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s leaders.
Putin met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Moscow on Wednesday and had a phone call with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev the following day.