Azerbaijan’s border service confirms that police have arrested a former senior official in the ethnic Armenian separatist administration of Nagorno-Karabakh, Ruben Vardanyan, as he tried to leave for Armenia.
Vardanyan was sent to Baku and handed over to other state agencies.
A billionaire investment banker, Vardanyan served as head of the separatist government of Karabakh between November 2022 and February 2023.
In the last few days, from the troubled, but now truce, region of Nagorno-Karabakh, many residents are leaving for Armenia with everything they can.
There are hundreds of refugees who arrived this weekend, from the border with Azerbaijan to Armenia, by car, on foot or by ambulance.
Many of them say they want to leave Nagorno-Karabakh as soon as possible, seek to create a new life in Armenia and no longer want to live on Azeri territory because they fear ethnic cleansing, words they say they have heard continuously these days, since the rekindling of the conflict.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region in the southern Caucasus, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic Armenians for at least 3 decades.
The enclave has constantly had the support of Armenia, but also of their ally, Russia, which has stationed hundreds of its soldiers there for years.