YEREVAN — Armenia and Azerbaijan exchanged over three dozen prisoners on Wednesday one week after reaching an agreement to that effect welcomed by the international community.

In line with that agreement, Azerbaijan freed 32 Armenian soldiers and civilians in exchange for Armenia’s release of two Azerbaijani servicemen. The swap took place at the border between the two countries.

As part of the deal, Yerevan also dropped its objections to Baku’s bid to host the COP29 climate summit next year. The United Nations officially announced Azerbaijan as the summit host on Monday.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted the list of the freed Armenians on his Facebook page. He said that they will undergo medical examinations before reuniting with their families.

Most of them were taken prisoner in Nagorno-Karabakh in December 2020 just weeks after a Russian-brokered ceasefire stopped the last Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

Also repatriated was Gagik Voskanyan, an Armenian army reservist who was mobilized a few weeks before straying into Azerbaijani territory in August this year in unclear circumstances. An Azerbaijani court convicted Voskanyan of “terrorism” just hours before the announcement of the prisoner swap.

“Up until the last minute we were not sure [about Voskanyan’s release] because we feared that the Azerbaijanis could do something at the last minute,” his mother, Ashkhen Avetisyan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “So it really was a surprise, a big surprise.”

According to Yerevan-based human rights activists, at list 23 Armenians remain in Azerbaijani captivity after the latest swap. They include eight current and former leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh arrested following Azerbaijan’s September military offensive in the region.

The Azerbaijani soldiers set free by Yerevan were detained in April after crossing into Armenia’s Syunik province from Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. One of them, Huseyn Akhundov, was charged with murdering a Syunik resident the day before his detention. Armenia’s Court of Appeals sentenced him to life imprisonment last week.

The Prime Minister also issued a list of the names of the released POWs.

Avagyan Hrach A. – Gyumri, Shirak
Avagyan Serob S. – Zuygaghbyur, Shirak
Avagyan Tigran M. – Gyumri, Shirak
Avetisyan Vagharshak A. – Zuygaghbyur, Shirak
Aramyan Karen A. – Ashotsk, Shirak
Bahrikyan Vahagn E. – Akhuryan, Shirak
Baghdasaryan Arthur E. – Gyumri, Shirak
Gevorgyan Robert H. – Akhuryan, Shirak
Dilanyan Arman V. – Zuygaghbyur, Shirak
Yeghiazaryan Sasun S. – Ani, Shirak
Tadevosyan Hrayr V. – Ashotsk, Shirak
Tosunyan Hrayr V. – Ashotsk, Shirak
Isanyan Aren A. – Stepanakert
Kirakosyan Eduard A. – Gyumri, Shirak
Kostanyan Narek A. – Artik, Shirak
Hakobyan Volodya G. – Sarnaghbyur, Shirak
Harutyunyan Varazdat S. – Akhuryan, Shirak
Herabyan Hrayr H. – Ashotsk, Shirak
Hovagimyan Harutyun Y. – Kapan, Syunik
Hovhannisyan Haykaz K. – Akhuryan, Shirak
Ghazaryan Karen A. – Dilijan, Tavush
Martoyan Manuk H. – Lanjik, Shirak
Martirosyan Gevorg S. – Gyumri, Shirak
Mikayelyan Andranik V. – Gyumri, Shirak
Voskanyan Gagik A. – Yerevan
Rafaelyan Vladimir O. – Vagharshapat, Armavir
Saghatelyan Grigor S. – Ashotsk, Shirak
Sargsyan Ishkhan A. – Yerevan
Serobyan Gegham S. – Zuygaghbyur, Shirak
Sukiasyan Andranik S. – Gyumri, Shirak
Stepanyan Davit S. – Panik, Shirak
Vardanyan Arsen A. – Ani, Shirak

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