1991 Azerbaijani Mil Mi-8 shootdown
A Mil Mi-8 similar to the aircraft shotdown
|Date||November 20, 1991|
|Site||Karakend, near Khojavend, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan|
|Aircraft type||Assault transport helicopter|
The 1991 Azerbaijan MI-8 helicopter shootdown occurred on November 20, 1991, when an Azerbaijani MI-8 military helicopter, carrying a peacekeeping mission team consisting of 13 Azerbaijani government officials, 2 Russian and 1 Kazakhstani Ministry of Internal Affairs officials, 3 Azerbaijani journalists and 3 helicopter crew was shot down by Armenian military forces near the Karakend village of Khojavend district in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. All 22 people (19 passengers and 3 crew) on board were killed in the crash.
In accordance with the Zheleznovodsk communique initiated by Boris Yeltsin and Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Russian city of Zheleznovodsk for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and their subsequent shuttle diplomacy visit to the region on September 1991, officials from Russia and Kazakhstan were placed in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast ("NKAO") for an observation mission. On the eve of the crash, the Armenian side refused to continue the peace talks with Azerbaijan until Azerbaijan re-opened the natural gas supply to Armenia, which it ceased on November 4. The team of observers along with representatives of Azerbaijani government were to fly from Agdam to Khojavend due to rising tension in the district.
Helicopter MI-8 with the peacekeeping team departed from Agdam with 22 people on board and was shot down en route by Armenian attack using a group of ZSU-23-4 Shilka and SA-6 missiles, killing everyone on board. The attack on the helicopter disrupted the ongoing peace talks.
|Tofig Ismayilov Kazim oglu||Secretary of State, Azerbaijan|
|Ismat Gayibov Ismayil oglu||Public Prosecutor General, Azerbaijan|
|Mahammad Asadov Nabi oglu,||Minister of Internal Affairs, State Advisor, Azerbaijan|
|Zulfi Hajiyev Saleh oglu||Deputy Prime Minister, Azerbaijan|
|Vagif Jafarov Jafar oglu||Member of Parliament, Azerbaijan|
|Vali Mammadov Huseyn oglu||Member of Parliament, Azerbaijan|
|Osman Mirzayev Mirza Huseyn oglu||Head of Presidential Administration, journalist, Azerbaijan|
|Gurban Namazaliyev Huseyn oglu||Deputy Prime Minister of Amelioration and Water Management, Azerbaijan|
|Igor Aleksandrovich Plavski||Public Prosecutor of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), Azerbaijan|
|Vladimir Vladimirovich Kovalyov||Head of Ministry of Internal Affairs of NKAO, Azerbaijan|
|Sergey Semyonovich Ivanov||Head of department of National Security Ministry, NKAO, Azerbaijan|
|Nikolay Vladimirovich Jinkin||Commandant for Emergency Situations of NKAO, Azerbaijan|
|Sanlal Dasumovich Serikov||Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Kazakhstan|
|Mikhail Dmitriyevich Lukashov||MVD, Major General, Russia|
|Oleg Nikolayevich Kocherev||MVD, Lieutenant Colonel, Russia|
|Rafig Mammadov Mammad oglu||Aide to Secretary of State, Azerbaijan|
|Ali Mustafayev Mustafa oglu||Journalist, Azerbaijani State TV|
|Arif Huseynzadeh Ismail oglu||Lights technician, Azerbaijani State TV|
|Fakhraddin Shahbazov Ibrahim oglu||Cameraman, Azerbaijani State TV|
|Lieutenant Colonel Vyacheslav Vladimirovich Kotov||Commander of helicopter crew|
|Major Gennadiy Vladimirovich Domov||Member of the helicopter crew|
|Sergeant Dmitry Borisovich Yarovenko||Member of the helicopter crew|
Initial reports by central state agency TASS claimed the helicopter flew into a fog and crashed into a hill. On November 21, the chairman of the crash investigation committee announced over TV that the helicopter was shot at by large caliber weapons and the weapons and video equipment was stolen from the site of the incident. At 6:30 PM, the same day, the deputy Chief of Command of Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of USSR, Vyacheslav Ponomarev left for Agdam. The Interior Ministry officials declared they would not pull out the internal troops detachments out of the district due to escalation of the conflict. The investigation committee was also to determine where the victims would be buried. However, because the area of the crash was soon captured by Armenian militants, the investigation was suspended and no one was indicted.
After the public burial of the Azerbaijani victims in Baku on November 22, demonstrations began. The protestors demanded the Supreme Soviet and the chairman of Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Ayaz Mutalibov, to establish authority in Karabakh or resign from office. As a result, the Supreme Soviet called a special session on November 26 requesting to impose a martial law in the republic, withdrawing cadets and officers of Azerbaijani ethnicity from Soviet Army and ceasing all negotiations with Armenia. On November 27, the Supreme Soviet voted in favor of abolishing the autonomous status of NKAO and established direct rule over it. It also officially changed the name of Stepanakert to its pre-Soviet name Khankendi and re-arranged administrative division of the rayons in Nagorno-Karabakh area.
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