Azerbaijani authorities detained a Czech citizen who illegally crossed the border from Armenia. This was reported by the Azerbaijani state agency APA on Saturday.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the detention of the Czech, the embassy in Baku is now seeking a consular visit of the Czech citizen, Mariana Wernerová from the ministry’s communications department told ČTK.
“We can confirm the detention of a Czech citizen by the Azerbaijani police. The reason for the detention is allegedly illegal crossing of the border,” Werner said. She added that colleagues are in contact with his family.
Other media in the Caucasus republic reported that, according to an unnamed source, the man was detained at one of the checkpoints in the zone near the border with Armenia. He managed to cross the territory on the Azerbaijani side of the border, which was previously mined by the Armenians. The APA reports that only an investigation will reveal how he managed to cross the minefield without injury.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought two wars in the past three decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan and historically home to a majority Armenian population. Fighting in the 1990s left about 30,000 dead and ended with an Armenian victory. But Azerbaijan captured a number of territories during the 2020 war.
After a blitzkrieg military offensive last September, Azerbaijan then took full control of Nagorno-Karabakh, and most of the region’s 120,000 or so ethnic Armenians fled in fear of Azerbaijani repression. Armenia did not intervene during Azerbaijan’s September offensive in Karabakh.
A Russian-brokered ceasefire ended the previous war in the fall of 2020, but no peace agreement has yet been reached. The demarcation of the common border, which is closed and there are many soldiers on both sides, remains controversial. Armed clashes repeatedly take place in the border area.