Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the downing of the country’s Mi-24 military helicopter over Armenia near the border with Azerbaijan. The ministry reported the killing of two crew members, with another wounded.
The Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) is reported to have crashed in the territory of Armenia near the village of Yeraskh. The military helicopter is said to have been shot down using a man-portable air-defense system (SAM), according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
Russia said the crash was caused by a loss of control after a missile hit the aircraft. The helicopter accompanied a convoy of Russian troops in Armenia and came under fire from MANPADS from the ground between Yeraskh and Paruyr-Sevak, which is the border with the Nakhichevan autonomy of Azerbaijan.
“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 Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (Republic of Azerbaijan), the Russian Mi-24 helicopter was subjected to fire from the ground from MANPADS. As a result of the missile hit, the helicopter lost control and fell in a mountainous area on the territory of Armenia,” a statement from the Russian military read.
The command of the 102nd Russian Military Base in Gyumri is assessing the perpetrator of the attack, and more reports are still awaited about the incident.
The Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations also confirmed the report of the Mi-24 helicopter crashing in an area bordering Azerbaijan. The videos of the crash shot by locals in the area started doing rounds on Twitter.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry apologized to Russia, saying the Mi-24 gunship was shot down by Azerbaijani forces near Nakhchivan by mistake.
The foreign ministry said the helicopter had been flying at a low altitude during hours of darkness. A “Manpads” shoulder-launched missile brought it down, the report said.
“Helicopters of the Russian air force had not been previously sighted in the area,” the ministry said. Azerbaijan offered condolences to the families of those killed and offered to pay compensation.
Russian Mi-24 shot down over Armenia. Details are being clarified. pic.twitter.com/UYGUfErUc0
— ZOKA (@200_zoka) November 9, 2020
Armenia and Azerbaijan are currently involved in a tense conflict in the region over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and hundreds have been killed in the month-long battle.