An Azerbaijani armed group crossed into Armenian territory and reportedly abducted two Armenian soldiers, Armenia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on Saturday. Azerbaijani authorities reported that the two soldiers are facing six counts of criminal charges, including terrorism.
The soldiers, Harutyun Hovagimyan and Karen Ghazaryan, were delivering food to a military position in Armenia’s Syunik Province, after which communication was lost, said the Investigative Committee.
After a search, the soldiers’ vehicle, with its engine still running, was found on the road leading to the military position where the delivery was to take place. The truck was filled with food and water and an AK-47 rifle was found in the vehicle.
Around the time of the incident, Azerbaijani media, and later through messages publicized by its border guards, Armenian forces were being accused of violating the ceasefire. Armenia’s Defense Ministry has denied the allegations.
Azerbaijani authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against the two Armenian servicemen charging them with six counts, including terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred by violence and smuggling weapons and ammunition. The Azerbaijani side accused them of illegally crossing the state border and carrying out a subversive incursion attempt, Azatutyun.am reported on Saturday.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said that the illegal abduction of the servicemen is an attempt to deviate from its own obligations.
“We call on Azerbaijani authorities to release them and fulfill commitment to release all Armenian POWs in line with Trilateral Statement of Nov 9, 2020, as well as pleas by international partners and institutions,” the foreign ministry also said in a social media post.
This is a developing story.