Overwhelming joy filled the family of Azerbaijani soldier Ruslan Panahov after his release from Armenia, where he was detained for over a month.

“We are speechless, we are in shock,” Eldeniz Panahov, Ruslan’s father, expressed upon hearing the news. “As a family, we are overwhelmed with joy. It’s impossible not to rejoice. We don’t know how to express our happiness right now.”

Panahov’s family learned about his return through a friend. “We found out about an hour ago,” Eldeniz said. “A friend called and explained everything. This is our happiest day.”

Panahov was detained by Armenian troops on February 28th near the border village of Tegh. Armenian authorities initially accused him of illegally crossing the border while armed. However, an investigation yielded “factual evidence” proving that Panahov had unintentionally strayed from his position due to poor weather conditions. Consequently, the criminal case against him was dropped.

Following negotiations, Armenia and Azerbaijan reached an agreement for Panahov’s swift repatriation. His return marks a positive step towards de-escalating tensions in the region, where both nations have committed to promptly returning soldiers who unintentionally cross the border.