MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has expressed concerns over Azerbaijan's decision to pardon a convicted killer Hungary had repatriated to serve his prison sentence.
Lt. Ramil Safarov was given a life sentence in 2006 by a Hungarian court after he confessed to killing Lt. Gurgen Markarian of Armenia while both were in Hungary for a 2004 NATO language course. Azerbaijan and Armenia are ex-Soviet neighbors who have been locked in a long-standing feud over the mountainous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan's president pardoned and freed Safarov after he was returned home, prompting Armenia to break off diplomatic ties with Hungary.
Russia's Foreign Ministry, an important broker in the Armenian-Azerbaijani feud, condemned Safarov's release in a statement Monday, saying that it hampers Russia and other international mediators' peace-keeping efforts.