Yerevan, Armenia - Armenia's president says his country is cutting diplomatic ties with Hungary after the release of an Azerbaijani military officer convicted of hacking to death an Armenian officer.

The Azerbaijani officer, Lt. Ramil Safarov, was sent back to his homeland on Friday and, despite assurances, immediately pardoned and freed by his country's president.

Safarov was given a life sentence in 2006 by the Budapest City Court after he confessed to killing Lt. Gurgen Markarian of Armenia while both were in Hungary for a NATO language course. Azerbaijan and Armenia are ex-Soviet neighbors who have been locked in a long-standing conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In response, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian announced that his country is “halting diplomatic relations and all official ties with Hungary.” - Sapa-AP