UPDATE: The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the incident saying that the Russian Mi-24 helicopter crashed in Armenia near the settlement of Yeraskh as a result of the MANPAD strike.
“On November 9, at about 17.30 Moscow time, while escorting a convoy of the 102nd Russian military base through the territory of the Republic of Armenia in the air space near the Armenian settlement of Yeraskh near the border of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (Republic of Azerbaijan), the Russian Mi-24 helicopter was subjected to fire from the ground from a MANPAD. As a result of the missile hit, the helicopter lost control and fell in a mountainous area on the territory of Armenia,” the statement said.
The incident occurred on November 9 at about 17:30 Moscow time. The helicopter was escorting a convoy of the 102nd Russian military base through the territory of Armenia. The helicopter was shot down in airspace outside the combat zone.
Two crew members were killed and another one was injured.
Remnants of the Russian Mi-24 helicopter, that was shot down by Azerbaijan near Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Photos by Armenian Ministry of emergency situations.https://t.co/hUhH6zMQwA
RIP to the two fallen members of crew and hope that the sole survivor will recover soon. pic.twitter.com/slPXuHKzpL
— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) November 9, 2020
Azerbaijan officially apologized to Russia for ‘accidentally’ shooting down a Russian military helicopter in an an emergency statement.
“The Azerbaijani side apologizes to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident, which is an accident by nature and was not directed against the Russian side,” the ministry said in a statement. “The Azerbaijani side expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased crew members and wishes the injured people a speedy recovery. The Azerbaijani side declares its readiness to pay appropriate compensation.”
Baku claimed thatthe development happened due to the following factors:
“- the helicopter flight took place in a close proximity to the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border, while active military clashes continue in the zone of the Armenian-Azerbaijani 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 previously been seen in the specified area.
In the context of these factors and in the light of the tense situation in the region and increased combat readiness in connection with possible provocations of the Armenian side, the duty combat crew decided to open fire.”
It should be noted that the incident with the Russian helicopter took place on the same day, when the Armenian side officially admitted the fall of Shusha, the key Armenian stronghold in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. The fall of Shusha, according to some Russian exports, indicates the collapse of the Armenian defense in the area and thus, Armenian forces could lost the capital of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic – Stepanakert – within the next 5 days.
In these conditions, the growth of Russian-Azerbaijani tensions due to some ‘military accident’ near the combat zone area goes fully in the interests of the Armenian side. In own turn, Azerbaijan is not interested in any escalation with Russia. It is hard to imagine that an Azerbaijani officer would make a decision to attack Russian forces in any kind near the combat zone (Russian troops are deployed just on the border between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia) because this will lead to notable negative consequences for Baku. This explains an unprecedentedly rapid reaction of Azerbaijan to the situation. Azerbaijan immediately admitted responsibility, offered apologies and a compensation. Also, the posture of Azerbaijan clearly demonstrates that it sees Armenia as a participant of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that uses its own territory for military actions against Azerbaijan.
On the other hand, the location of the village of Eraskh is far from the actual combat zone. Therefore, there is a small possibility that this was a Turkish-instigated provocation/demonstration of force that should somehow warn and deter Russia from intervening into the Karabakh war on the side of Armenia. This may be compared with the Turkish posture in Syria, when its warplane shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane in Syria in the first months of the Russian military operation there in 2015. Nonetheless, it should be noted that this Turkish demonstration led to little results and the Russian operation there turned the tide of the war into the favor of the allied government of Bashar al-Assad.
On November 9, a Russian helicopter crashed in the border area of Armenia, according to reports in Armenian media.
Armenian reports claim that the helicopter was allegedly shot down by fire from the direction of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is landlocked exclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan, separated from the rest of the country by the territory of Armenia.
The video below allegedly shows the crash site near the town of Eraskh:
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- Armenian-Azerbaijani War: Military Situation In Nagorno-Karabakh On November 9, 2020