YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian has received letters of condolence from several heads of state in connection with his brother’s death as a result of an air accident earlier this week–official sources said on Thursday.
Condolences were offered by Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia–Jacques Chirac of France–Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine–Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and Saparmurad Niyazov of Turkmen’stan–according to the presidential press service. Kocharian’s brother–Valeri–died on Monday after his hang-glider crashed from a high altitude near a training airfield 15 kilometers north of the capital Yerevan. State prosecutors have told RFE/RL that the crash was apparently caused by the wind–which "tilted" one of the glider’s wings.
Valeri Kocharian–who was 46–was buried on Wednesday in his native region of Nagorno-Karabakh–where he fought for independence in the early 1990s. In February 1992–he was maimed by a bomb explosion–losing one of his hands. His funeral in Stepanakert was also attended by Armenia’s Prime Minister Armen Darbinian–Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and the leadership of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.