Three Armenian POWs Return Home

YEREVAN — Azerbaijan freed and repatriated on Tuesday three more Armenians who were taken prisoner during or shortly after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

They were reportedly flown to Yerevan by a Russian military plane late in the evening. All three men are soldiers, according to Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan’s office.

In a statement, the office said their release was made possible by joint efforts of Russia, France and the United States and what it called broader international pressure exerted on Baku.

“We hope that this process will have a logical continuation and quick conclusion,” added the statement.

Sixty-nine Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians were freed earlier this year and last December in prisoner exchanges arranged by Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh. More than 100 others are believed to remain in Azerbaijani captivity.

Yerevan insists on their immediate and unconditional release, citing the terms of a Russian-mediated truce agreement.

The European Union last week called on Azerbaijan to free all remaining Armenian prisoners “as soon as possible” and “regardless of the circumstances of their arrest.” The U.S., Russian and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group called for their release earlier in April.

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