helicopter
© REUTERS / Vitaly Nevar
FILE PHOTO.
The Russian Mi-24 helicopter crashed in Armenia after being subjected to fire from the ground, Moscow confirmed. The incident took place near the border with Azerbaijan.

The chopper went down on Monday evening as it was escorting a motorcade to the Russian military base. The aircraft was hit by a missile from a portable air-defense system, whereupon it lost control and plunged into mountainous terrain on Armenian soil.

"The Russian Mi-24 helicopter was shot down in the airspace over the territory of the Republic of Armenia outside the combat zone [with Azerbaijan]," stressed the official representative of the Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

Footage available online purportedly shows the scene of the deadly incident.


Two of the helicopter's flight crew members were killed and one was evacuated with moderate injuries, it has been confirmed.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that Azerbaijan is actively supported by Turkey, a NATO member, while Armenia is a member of the the Collective Security Treaty Organization - a military alliance with Russia.

Azerbaijan confirms it shot down Russian Mi-24 military helicopter

Baku explained that the horrific mistake occurred due to the fact that the helicopter flew in close proximity to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, where active military clashes between the two countries continue over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The flight was being conducted in the dark, at low altitude and outside the radar detection zone of air defense systems, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. In addition, Russian helicopters had not previously been seen in the area where the incident occurred, the report said.

With the overall tense situation in the area and increased combat readiness due to "possible provocations from the Armenian side," Baku's forces decided to shoot to kill, Baku claimed.

"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.

Azerbaijan also mentioned that it's ready to pay compensation in connection with the incident.

The Azerbaijani officials expressed condolences to the families and friends of the killed crew members.