Azerbaijan Says It Downed Russian Helicopter Over Armenia

Azerbaijan apologized for mistakenly shooting down a Russian helicopter near its autonomous Naxcivan region, close to Armenia’s western border, according to the Foreign Ministry in Baku.

The incident happened outside the conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.

The helicopter was providing air cover for a convoy of Russian ground troops near the village of Yeraskh when it was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile and crashed in the nearby mountains on Armenia’s territory, the ministry in Moscow said. Two crew members were killed, while one survived and has been rushed to a hospital for treatment.

The helicopter was flying at low altitude in the dark near the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, where Russian aircraft hadn’t previously been seen, the Foreign Ministry in Baku said in its statement. Azerbaijan is ready to pay compensation, it said.

The worst fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia in three decades erupted more than six weeks ago over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts. The territories are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but have been held by Armenian forces since a Russia-brokered truce in 1994 halted a war that had killed 30,000 and displaced 1 million amid the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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