BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 A.M.) – The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, apologized to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the downing of a Russian helicopter along the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
The press office of the Azerbaijani President said on Tuesday that “Aliyev made a phone call to the Russian President and expressed his condolences over the tragedy of the downing of the Russian Air Force helicopter on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.”
The statement read: “the Azerbaijani President apologized to his Russian counterpart for the tragic accident.”
The statement said that the Azerbaijani air defense units thought the Russian helicopter was part of the Armenian Air Force because of the darkness.
Aliyev stressed that “those responsible for the accident will be punished and Moscow will be informed of this.”
On Monday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that a helicopter belonging to the Russian military forces had fallen over Armenian territory. The chopper, which was identified as an Mi-24, crashed over Armenia and resulted in the death of two crew members.
In a related context, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry affirmed that “the Azerbaijani side apologizes to the Russian side regarding this tragic accident, which was not directed against Russia, stressing that Baku is ready to pay compensation to Russia for shooting down the helicopter.”
In this regard, the Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the statement of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry regarding the downing of the Russian helicopter, said that Moscow evaluates positively Baku’s immediate recognition of the downing of the Russian Mi-24 military helicopter.
On September 27, armed clashes broke out on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the disputed Karabakh region and adjacent areas, in the most dangerous escalation between the two parties in nearly three decades, amid mutual accusations of starting fighting and bringing in foreign militants.