A number of Azerbaijani prisoners, including two who had been held captive by Armenia for several years, were released Monday as part of a prisoner exchange.
According to the Azerbaijan State Security Service, the exchange of prisoners and hostages started according to a Russia-brokered agreement signed on Nov. 10 between Baku and Yerevan.
Azerbaijani prisoners and hostages were brought to the capital Baku on Monday.
Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, who had been held captive by Armenia for six years, were among those released.
In 2014, Asgarov and Guliyev along with Hasan Hasanov traveled to the Kalbajar region, which was under Armenian occupation at the time, to see the village where they were born and raised and to visit the graves of their relatives.
After they were spotted by Armenian soldiers, Hasanov was killed and Asgarov and Guliyev were taken hostage.
Hasanov's body was returned to Azerbaijan three months later while Asgarov was sentenced to life in prison and Guliyev to 22 years.
On Monday evening, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinyan announced that 44 captives were also returned to Armenia from Azerbaijan.
"At this stage, the Armenian captives whose captivity has been confirmed by Azerbaijan and the Red Cross are being returned. The process of finding and organizing the return of our other compatriots who are missing and have been possibly captured continues," Avinyan wrote on his Facebook page.
Russia's Defense Ministry said Monday 12 prisoners were handed over to Azerbaijan and 44 to Armenia.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
The conflict that erupted in September between separatists, backed by Armenia, and Azerbaijan over the mountainous region ended on Nov. 10 with a Moscow-brokered peace deal that saw Yerevan cede swathes of territory to Baku.
Russia has deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeeping troops to Nagorno-Karabakh as part of the cease-fire deal.