September 29, 2023 - 16:18 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined calls for the release of philanthropist, businessman and former State Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Ruben Vardanyan.
Vardanyan was arrested on Thursday, September 28 when trying to leave Nagorno-Karabakh alongside tens of thousands of forcibly displaced civilians.
“I join my fellow Armenians in demanding the safe release of Ruben Vardanyan and all other Armenians detained in Azerbaijan. As tens of thousands of families are fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh for safe refuge to Armenia, detention is becoming an alarming trend,” Mkhitaryan said ina. Facebook post on Thursday.
“Ruben Vardanyan stands out as an outspoken advocate for peace not only in our region but in the world. He is a world known philanthropist, businessman and co-founder of the Aurora Prize humanitarian initiative which advocates for peacebuilding and provides people around the world with education and healthcare.”
On September 19, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, which left hundreds of Armenians killed and thousands of others displaced. On September 20, the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to a ceasefire on Azerbaijan’s terms, including the dissolution of the Defense Army. On September 18, President of the Republic of Artsakh Samvel Shahramanyan signed a decree, according to which the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) will cease to exist by January 1, 2024. As of September 29 morning, around 85,000 displaced residents have already fled Nagorno-Karabakh and reached Armenia.