Armenia has warned that Baku will face “grave consequences” for shooting down an Armenian military helicopter.
“This is an unprecedented escalation and the consequences for Azerbaijan will be grave,” said Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisyan, on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan announced it had downed an Armenian MI-24 combat helicopter after it “attempted to attack positions of the Azerbaijani army near (Karabakh’s) Agdam district,” read the statement issued by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry.
However, Yerevan rejected Baku’s claim, saying the military helicopter was merely carrying out a training flight.
“Azerbaijan’s claim that the Armenian helicopter attacked its positions is not true. Examination of the wreckage will prove that the helicopter carried no weapons,” Hovannisyan added.
All the three crew members of the helicopter lost their lives in the deadly incident, the Armenian media reported.
The two ex-Soviet Caucasus nations claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is largely populated by Armenians but located in Azerbaijan.
Ethnic Armenian forces took control over the enclave which accounts for 16 percent of Azerbaijan in the early 1990s during a six-year war that took place from February 1988 to May 1994.
The conflict left an estimated 30,000 people dead and one million displaced before the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1994. However, a permanent peace accord has never been inked and the dispute still remains unsettled.
Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the region by force if negotiations between the two sides fail to yield results, while Armenia has pledged to retaliate against any military action.