Caspian Region

Azerbaijan Returns Eight Captured Armenian Soldiers

Image: @EmmanuelMacron/Twitter

(RFE/RL) BAKU -- Azerbaijan has freed eight Armenian soldiers captured during deadly border clashes last year as the two sides look to hold new talks on easing their simmering border conflict.


Azerbaijani officials said that the February 7 move was made on the basis of "humanist principles."


According to the officials, the group of Armenian soldiers returned to Yerevan include several servicemen involved in border clashes in mid-November. French President Emmanuel Macron said his country had sent a plane to pick up the group.


"The release by Azerbaijan and reparation to Armenia of 8 Armenian detainees is another sign of positive developments following the meeting with @EmmanuelMacron, @azpresident and @NikolPashinyan," European Council President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter, referring to Macron, Azerbaijani President lham Aliyev, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.



Baku said earlier that seven of its soldiers had been killed in the November 16 fighting. Armenia has said six of its soldiers were killed and more than 30 servicemen were captured at the time.


The violence renewed international calls for the two neighbors to engage in a process of demarcating their Soviet-era border.


In a 2020 six-week war, Baku gained control of parts of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as seven adjacent districts that had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the end of a separatist war in 1994.


Some 2,000 Russian troops were deployed to monitor the cease-fire.


Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been under ethnic Armenian control for nearly three decades, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.