Ruben Vardanyan was detained by Azerbaijani border guards. September 27, 2023. Azerbaijan Border Service

Ruben Vardanyan was detained by Azerbaijani border guards. September 27, 2023. Azerbaijan Border Service

Baku/27.09.23/Turan: On the afternoon of September 27, the State Border Service of Azerbaijan officially confirmed the detention of Ruben Vardanyan and released a photograph of him in custody. Vardanyan was apprehended and subsequently transported to Baku in handcuffs. 

Ruben Vardanyan's wife, Veronika Zonabend, issued a statement through Armenian telegram channels in response to her husband's detention. She revealed that Vardanyan, a prominent philanthropist, businessman, and former State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh, had been arrested by Azerbaijani authorities while attempting to leave Artsakh along with thousands of other Armenians who were fleeing the Azerbaijani occupation. Zonabend expressed her deep concern for her husband's well-being and called for his safe and immediate release, seeking support from the international community.

It is important to note that Ruben Vardanyan had previously renounced his Russian citizenship in October 2022, ahead of his arrival in Karabakh. This decision elicited a swift response from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, on December 22 of the same year, issued a decree revoking Vardanyan's Russian citizenship. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also made an official statement in December, clearly disassociating Vardanyan from the Russian Federation. Lavrov reiterated that Vardanyan was no longer considered a Russian citizen, emphasizing that the Russian authorities had no ties to him and bore no responsibility for his actions.

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