Azerbaijan Shoots Down Russian Helicopter As Fighting Continues To Rage Over The Artsakh Region

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Azerbaijan Shoots Down Russian Helicopter As Fighting Continues To Rage Over The Artsakh Region

It has been reported that Azerbaijani forces have shot down a Russian military helicopter, a move that is likely to cause huge international fall-out as the battle continues to rage over Artsakh. The shooting down has been described as an accident.

Moscow said in a statement that the Mi-24 helicopter was shot down near the border with Azerbaijan and that two crew members were killed. Azerbaijan has officially apologised for the incident.

The incident is not believed to have occurred within the vicinity of Artsakh, where the battle between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces is focused, but near the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, a landlocked exclave of Azerbaijan between Armenia and Turkey.

Fighting in Artsakh, known officially as Nagorno-Karabakh, has raged for the last six weeks, leading to the deaths of over 1000 people. The region, which is inhabited by Christian ethnic Armenians, seeks to break way from Azerbaijan and either establish its own state or join with Armenia. The population claims that it is subject to widespread discrimination at the hands of the Azerbaijani state and the Armenian state claims that if it withdrew its forces the Armenian population could be subject to a genocide.

Azerbaijan, who wishes all Armenian forces immediately removed from its territory, claimed in recent days that it has captured the strategic town of Shushi, a claim that as been denied by the Armenians.

That said, Vahram Poghosyan, a spokesman for the Armenian separatists, posted on Facebook that Armenian forces had lost control of the town. They said:

"We have to admit that a chain of failures still haunts us and the city of Shushi is completely out of our control. The enemy is on the outskirts of Stepanakert and the existence of the capital is already in danger."

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has also stated that Azerbaijani forces have captured 48 settlements within the disputed region. The news of military defeats comes as political parties in Armenia have piled pressure on the Armenian government over their handling of the crisis.

Russia has thus far stayed neutral in the conflict, it has close ties with both nations. However, it has stated that if Armenian territory itself is invaded then they will lend support. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said:

"Russia will render Yerevan all necessary assistance if clashes take place directly on the territory of Armenia."

It waits to be seen whether Russia will change its position given the helicopter incident, or if Azerbaijan are seen to be committing atrocities within Artsakh.

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Thinking Humanity: Azerbaijan Shoots Down Russian Helicopter As Fighting Continues To Rage Over The Artsakh Region
Azerbaijan Shoots Down Russian Helicopter As Fighting Continues To Rage Over The Artsakh Region
It has been reported that Azerbaijani forces have shot down a Russian military helicopter, a move that is likely to cause huge international fall-out
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