“By visiting Nagorno-Karabakh, Serzh Sarkisian took up the gauntlet thrown by the Azerbaijanis,” “Zhamanak” writes in another commentary on the shooting of an Armenian military helicopter in Karabakh. “That what happened was a challenge [to Armenia and Karabakh] is beyond doubt.” The paper says that by accepting that challenge Sarkisian upped the stakes in the latest confrontation with Baku. “In this regard, it will be interesting to see whether Serzh Sarkisian will make any statement during his Karabakh trip or will content himself with a demonstrative visit,” it goes on.
“Zhoghovurd” believes that Sarkisian’s trip to Karabakh was meant to send a “very clear message” to Azerbaijan over its claims that the airspace above Karabakh has been closed. “In the history of conflicts such steps have usually preceded hostilities or at least sharp escalations of tension,” writes the paper. “In this sense, Serzh Sarkisian’s helicopter flight to the ‘closed airspace’ yesterday meant a gauntlet thrown back to the Azeris.” The paper claims that ever since the signing of the 1994 ceasefire agreement the conflicting parties have never been so close to renewed war.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says some Armenian and politicians and pundits believe that the Armenian side must not rush to retaliate against the helicopter’s destruction. “But the variant of dealing a much heavier blow to Azerbaijan is clearly more popular,” says the paper. “In any case, everybody agrees on one issue: the Armenian military is capable of striking back. That is indeed the case. But that raises the question of why the Azerbaijanis dared to shoot down an Armenian helicopter, award the shooter and declare Karabakh a no-fly zone the next day in the first place.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Yerevan should demonstrate to the international community that the Azerbaijani attack was a serious violation of the 1994 truce. “After all, Azerbaijani warplanes and helicopters have always flown along our borders,” argues the paper. “But the Armenian sides have always honored their obligation not to use heavy military hardware in skirmishes involving small arms.” It goes on call for a “tough riposte that would rein in the enemy.”