Armenia’s National Security Service reported Thursday that Azerbaijan has returned five Armenian prisoners of war to the Armenia.
The captives repatriated from Azerbaijan are Martin Aghramanyan (born 1996), Ashot Gevorgyan (born 1998), Felix Grigoryan (born 1996), Varazdat Manukyan (born 1990) and Edik Hovsepyan (born 1999).
“We welcome this action as a step contributing to the normalization of the relations,” the NSS said in a statement.
The issue of the release of POWs reportedly was discussed during a meeting between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Brussels, which was mediated by European Council President Charles Michel, who said in a statement after the meeting that he insisted on the return of POWs and captives.
In a leaked recording released last year, Aliyev was held telling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he was keeping the POWs as leverage with Armenia.
The Azerbaijani Turn news agency earlier today reported that sentences against four Armenian citizens had been lowered and they were released. According to Turan, the four were captured in December, 2020 in Hadrut.
The Interfax news agency Azerbaijani Service reported from the court that the four POWs were sentenced to six years in prison during a sham trial in November of last year.
Turan signaled that the four were to be returned to Armenia.