A Russian Air Force Mi-24 helicopter was shot down by Azerbaijan, just hours before Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed a peace deal by video-conference today.
The aircraft was flying over Nakhchivan section of the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border at 18.30 when it was brought down by Azeri forces. The site of crash is close to the area where active military clashes continue in the zone of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The flight took place in the dark, at low altitude, outside the air defense radar detection zone. Russian Air Force helicopters have not been seen in the specified area before. In the context of the mentioned factors and in the light of the tense situation in the region and increased combat readiness in connection with possible provocations by the Armenian side, the combat crew on duty took the decision to open fire. The Azerbaijani side apologizes to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident, which is accidental and was not directed against the Russian side,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan said in a statement.
“The Azerbaijani side expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the perished crew members and wishes the injured people a speedy recovery. The Azerbaijani side declares its readiness to pay appropriate compensation,” the statement added.
Signed earlier today through a video conference, the peace deal was brokered by Russia and Turkey. It seeks withdraw Armenian troops from the disputed territory and replace them with Russian peacekeepers who are already on their way to Nagorno-Karabakh.