The Armenian side is "in close contacts" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to settle the issue of the repatriation of the prisoners of war and captives, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian told the parliament on Wednesday, March 3.
The foreign policy chief said the Armenian side is using various "channels" to return the Armenians being kept in Azerbaijan.
"First of all, we proceed from the fact that Russia plays an important role in the region, and we are in direct contacts through various channels – from President Vladimir Putin to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu – to settle the matter," Aivazian said.
"The Russian side is consistently raising this issue with the Azerbaijani leadership. At the same time, the problem was specifically stressed in my contacts with the Ambassadors and Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries."
According to Aivazian, different countries are already building up the pressure on Azerbaijan over the issue of captives.
Several dozen Armenian POWs returned from Azerbaijan in mid-December, although Armenian officials said many more people were being held in Baku. Dozens of others, both servicemen and civilians, have been captured after the completion of military hostilities. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that persons being kept in Baku are not prisoners of war but “terrorists and saboteurs”. Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.