MOSCOW — Police in Russia briefly detained on Wednesday an Azerbaijani man accused by Armenia of committing war crimes during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The man, Kamil Zeynalli, was apprehended at Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport early in the morning as he was about to board a flight to Baku. In a live video message aired on social media during his detention, Zeynalli said Russian police officers told him that Armenian law-enforcement authorities issued an arrest warrant for him last May and he must therefore face extradition hearings in a Russian court.

Zeynalli, who is known as a fitness coach and blogger, was reportedly set free hours later, after the Azerbaijani Embassy in Moscow pledged to deal with the case. He is due to appear before the Russian court on Thursday, according to Azerbaijani media.

A spokesman for Armenia’s Interior Ministry, Narek Sargsyan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the Azerbaijani is wanted on murder charges. But he refused to give any details.

The charges are believed to stem from the execution of two Karabakh Armenian men captured by Azerbaijani troops in October 2020. A video posted by Azerbaijani social media users at the time showed Azerbaijani-speaking soldiers shooting and killing them.

The victims wore Karabakh Armenian uniforms and were bound and draped in Armenian flags during the execution. Armenian prosecutors identified them as residents of Karabakh’s southern Hadrut district occupied by the Azerbaijani army during the six-week war.

In a detailed 2020 analysis published by the investigative website Bellingcat, a retired British army officer and open source expect suggested that “these two men were indeed Armenian combatants who were captured between October 9 and October 15 by Azerbaijani soldiers, possibly special forces, and likely executed a short time later.” Bellingcat denied Baku’s claims that the video is fake.

Azerbaijani forces were also accused of committing other war crimes. In December 2020, Britain’s The Guardian daily examined gruesome videos that show men in Azerbaijani army uniforms beheading two elderly civilians recognized by their Karabakh Armenian relatives and neighbors.

“The ethnic Armenian men were non-combatants, people in their respective villages said,” wrote the paper.

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