YEREVAN — Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan announced the return of 15 Armenian prisoners from Azerbaijani captivity during his election campaign in Karmir Gyukhe.
“15 of our brothers in captivity are returning to the Republic of Armenia. I will not disclose the details now, they are on their way. I will make a more detailed statement when they are in the territory of the Republic of Armenia,” Pashinyan said.
Later in the day Pashinyan said that Georgian, American and EU partners played a role in ensuring the return of the prisoners.
“Two days ago I had a meeting with acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker, who said he had been instructed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to ensure breakthrough in the return of Armenian captives,” Pashinyan said.
According to him, Reeker said they were willing to get involved, if the Armenian side was ready for such cooperation.
“I said we are ready. And today, as a result of these efforts, and the efforts of our Georgian colleagues, namely Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, our EU parters, 15 of our captured brothers are returning to Armenia,” the acting PM said.
They crossed the Red Bridge to Georgia and headed for Armenia through Bagratashen checkpoint. They will now pass medical examination.
Nikol Pashinyan confirmed media reports that the Armenian side has handed over maps of some minefields to the Azerbaijani side.
“I want to say that we have not exchanged maps for captives. We have responded to a step with a step,” Pashinyan stated.