According to Azerbaijani media, the country’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying that the downing of the Russian Mi-24 helicopter near Armenia’s border with the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhijevan was “by mistake” and was conditioned by the ongoing clashes with Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry added that it was prepared to pay compensation.
Earlier on November 9, Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as confirming that two crew members were killed and one was injured when the helicopter escorting a convoy of the 102nd Russian military base through the territory of Armenia was shot down with a surface-to-air missile from a portable anti-aircraft missile system.
It said the incident happened near the Armenian village of Yeraskh in southwestern Armenia at about 5:30 pm.
Armenia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations also confirmed on Monday that a Russian military helicopter had crashed in the valley near the Yeraskh-Paruyr Sevak road in the southwest of the country.
Russia’s main military base in Armenia is located in the northwestern city of Gyumri.
Against the background of the unfolding armed conflict between ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, on October 31 Armenia formally asked Russia to start consultations on possible military assistance from Moscow under a 1997 treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance.
Russia quickly reaffirmed its commitment to Armenia under the treaty, saying that it will “render all necessary assistance to Yerevan if military operations take place directly on the territory of Armenia.”
Official representative of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told Ekho Moskvy today that while Moscow intends to engage more actively in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is not going to intervene.