The heads of the Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd villages in Artsakh’s Hadrut region confirmed on Monday that after an attack by Azerbaijan over the weekend on the area, 10 people were captured by Azerbaijani forces.
Later on Monday, it was reported that the missing individuals from the two villages were Artsakh armed forces reserve soldiers who were surrounded and the their movements blocked by Azerbaijani forces.
Artsakh lawmaker Hayk Khanumyan told Armenpress that at last contact, one of the missing persons was reported to have been injured.
The Azerbaijani armed forces on Saturday advanced on the villages with heavy armored vehicles and military equipment, catching the locals off guard. At one point they captured the Hin Tagher village and were advancing toward Khtsaberd, when Russian peacekeepers, who were not stationed at the line of contact at the time of the attack, arrived.
After hours of uncertainty and no clear indication from official Yerevan or Stepanakert, it was reported that Russian peacekeepers were controlling the village.
‘’The command staff of the Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh will clarify their status today [Monday] whether they have been taken hostage of not. They have started making efforts in that direction,’’ Khanumyan told Armenpess.
“The maneuvers by the Azerbaijani armed forces are not only a blatant violation of political agreements on a grand scale, they also pose a critical threats lives of the residents, especially of the Hin Shen village, including the physical security and well-being of a group of children and women,” said Artsakh Human Rights Defender Artak Beglaryan, after he visited the area.
“Those threats continue and are contingent on the positions the Azerbaijani forces are occupying, as well as their conduct [toward civilians],” added Beglaryan.
While he welcomed the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the area, citing it as a reason for no renewed attacks, he emphasized the need for serious efforts and steps to ensure that Azerbaijani forces leave that area as soon as possible.
“The security of every single resident of Artsakh unequivocally must be guaranteed,” added Beglaryan who said he has received assurances that the authorities of Armenia and Artsakh are working with Russia to resolve the situation.