STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—An Azerbaijani soldier captured Thursday by the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic Army during a failed attack on Talish is being rejected by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, which claims that the soldier was expelled.
In a statement cited by Azerbaijani news agencies, it confirmed that Huseynzade served in the Azerbaijani army but claimed that he was demobilized “some time ago” because of repeated violations of “military discipline” and failure to report for duty.
However, Huseynzade’s mother told the Azerbaijani news service Istipress.com on Thursday that he remained an active duty serviceman up until his capture. She said her son became a contract soldier after completing a two-year compulsory military service in 2015.
“Refusing its own soldiers fully fits into Azerbaijani logic,” spokesperson of the Artsakh Defense Ministry Senor Hasratyan said.
“In response to the report of the NKR Defense Ministry on an infiltration attempt on the part of the Azeri troops, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense issued a statement, claiming that Elnur Huseynzade, captured by Armenian forces had been expelled from the Armed Forces because of being an undisciplined serviceman,” Hasratyan wrote in a Facebook post.
“It’s not understandable and is illogical how a serviceman expelled from the army could penetrate into a zone between the positions of conflicting troops in military uniform and armed, try to carry out a special mission and get captured as a result,” he continued.
Azerbaijani media outlets have already interviewed the captured serviceman’s parents, publishing video footage and photo materials afterwards. Some news agencies have also confirmed that the captive is an active soldier.
The Azerbaijani soldier is not facing threats to life or health, the spokesperson of the country’s president said today, commenting on the recent border infiltration attempt.
“Unlike the Azerbaijanis – who kill and torture to death any Armenian who finds himself or herself in their country…we never demonstrate such a behavior or pursue such policies. That’s alien to an Armenian’s civilization,” Babayan told Tert.am.
“This year is a special year for the Nagorno-Karabakh army which will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi and Berdzor,” Babayan said, noting that Azerbaijan is dominated by negative sentiments as opposed to the two Armenian republics.
“I really wonder that after so many years, why they never arrived at the understanding that it is impossible to distract the people of Artsakh from the path they have taken,” the spokesperson added.