Pashinyan: identification of killed soldiers’ bodies enters final stage

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YEREVAN, June 3. /ARKA/. The process of identification of the bodies of those killed in the war in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has entered the final stage; some fragments of the bodies have not yet been identified, the acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a government meeting today.

Pashinyan’s remarks come in the wake of uproar caused by photographs circulated on social media showing plastic bags with the remains of soldiers killed in the Artsakh war lying in the ground in the basement of a morgue in the town of Abovyan.

According to relatives of some of the killed soldiers, the basement was not refrigerated and the remains began to decompose. Health minister sacked the head of the morgue and two other employees. The news has been used by the opposition to accuse the authorities of dishonoring the Armenian soldiers killed in action.

According to Pashinyan, who ordered June 2 an official investigation into the reports, the identification of bodies through DNA research has reached the final stage, ‘but there are remains that have not been identified yet.’ He added that there are also relatives of the missing soldiers, who for various reasons, refuse to give their DNA samples.

Pashinyan noted that some of the identified bodies, for various objective and subjective reasons, were not claimed by their relatives. Also, according to him, the government will ask international experts to take DNA samples of about 50 body fragments which cannot be done in Armenia.

“There were cases when relatives questioned the data of research carried out in Armenia. They conducted research abroad on their own initiative, and the results matched by 99.9%,” he said.

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons.

After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. —

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