2014 Armenian Mil Mi-24 shootdown

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2014 Armenian Mil Mi-24 shootdown
ArmenianHelicopterShootdown2014v2.png
Armenian Mil Mi-24 helicopter hitting the ground seconds after being hit by an Azerbaijani anti-aircraft missile
Shootdown
Date 12 November 2014
Summary Shootdown
Site near Gəngərli village, Agdam, Republic of Artsakh
Aircraft
Aircraft type Mil Mi-24
Operator Armed Forces of Armenia[1]/Artsakh Defense Army[2]
Passengers 0
Crew 3
Fatalities 3
Survivors 0

On November 12, 2014, an Armenian Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name "Hind") attack helicopter was shot down by Azerbaijani Armed Forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, killing all three crew members.

Events[edit]

According to the Armenian side, the helicopter belonged to separatist Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army and was participating in the week-long joint Armenian-NKR Unity 2014 military exercises in the disputed region. A statement released by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry claimed the helicopter belonged to the Armed Forces of Armenia[3] and was preparing to attack Azerbaijani positions in the Aghdam district. This was dismissed by Armenian and NKR defense ministry officials, who stated that the helicopter was not armed and did not enter Azerbaijani airspace.[4]

According to British analyst Thomas de Waal, it was shot down "in the no-man's land between the two armies" and added that the helicopter "was not attacking Azerbaijani positions but had apparently broken into an informal five-kilometer no-fly zone the two sides had agreed on."[5]

The Azerbaijani serviceman who shot down the helicopter, Ilkin Muradov, was awarded the 3rd degree medal "For Distinguished Military Service" and a valuable prize.[3]

Analyst Thomas de Waal described the shootdown as "the worst military incident in more than 20 years since the cease-fire."[6] On the same day, footage appeared in the Azerbaijani media purporting to show the moment of the shootdown. Two Mi-24s are seen flying parallel to the line of contact, as the launch of a surface-to-air missile, identified as an Igla-S MANPAD, is heard off screen and one of the helicopters is struck and crashes to the ground.[7]

After the shootdown, Armenian side claimed that Azeri forces continued firing at the crash site, preventing Armenian forces from retrieving the bodies for several days. On 22 November 2014, according to Armenian side, units of Armenian special forces successfully recovered the bodies of the three Armenian pilots, along with parts of the helicopter. During the operation, the Armenian side claims that two Azeri soldiers who tried to prevent the recovery of the remains of the pilots were killed. The Armenian side did not sustain any casualties.[8] The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry rejected the Armenian side's claims about carrying out the "special operation" on this territory. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, these territories are fully under the control of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Azeri military experts on aviation flights have stated that video materials showing bodies, provided by the Armenian side, are actually carefully edited materials.[9]

"Hay Zinvour", the official newspaper of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia confirmed that three deceased crew members were trained at Military-Aviation Institute in Yerevan[10] The three killed officers, according to the Armenian side, were buried with full military honors on November 25 in Yerevan's Yerablur military cemetery.[11][12] A day earlier their bodies were placed at the Saint Sarkis Church in Nor Nork District for a farewell ceremony which was attended by President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan and other officials.[13][14]

Reactions[edit]

  •  Armenia — The Foreign Ministry "strongly condemned" the shootdown and added that "The Azerbaijani side is grossly violating the commitments on the peaceful resolution of the conflict reached during the recent summits."[15] Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovannisian warned that "The consequences of this unprecedented escalation of tension will be very painful for Azerbaijan."[4]
  •  Azerbaijan — In the statement released on 20 November 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that "...two "Mi-24" attack helicopters of the air forces of Armenia approached and made attack maneuvers in the immediate vicinity of the positions of the armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan nearby the village of Kengerly in the occupied Agdam district of the Republic of Azerbaijan..." The ministry also adds that "The downed helicopter belongs to air base No. 15 stationed in Erebuni military base near Yerevan, the Republic of Armenia (i.e. not NKR), and its crew members were military servicemen of the Armenian armed forces. These are yet another manifestation of Armenia's aggression, its direct involvement in the occupation of the territories and continued use of force against the Republic of Azerbaijan" and refers to United Nations Security Council Resolution 853 adopted in 1993[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to Azerbaijani side.
  2. ^ According to Armenian side.
  3. ^ a b "Azerbaijan MD: Enemy's combat helicopter shot down with "IQLA" portable anti-aircraft missile complex". Report News Agency. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Armenian Helicopter Shot Down Near Karabakh." RFE/RL. November 12, 2014.
  5. ^ de Waal, Thomas (12 February 2015). "The Karabakh Truce Under Threat". Carnegie Moscow Center. 
  6. ^ "Azerbaijan Risks New Armenia Conflict as Chopper Downed." Bloomberg. November 12, 2014.
  7. ^ (in Azerbaijani) "Azerbaijani Troops blow Armenian attack helicopter up (with English subtitles)." YouTube. Accessed November 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Bodies of Armenian pilots removed from helicopter crash site". Reuters. 22 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Photos, videos presented by Armenia have nothing to do with downed helicopter". Trend. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Ayb Solutions LLC. "Ай Зинвор". Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Helicopter Crew Laid to Rest at Yerablur". Asbarez. 25 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Abrahamyan, Gohar (25 November 2014). "R.I.P.: Armenian helicopter crew killed in Karabakh buried with military honors". ArmeniaNow. 
  13. ^ "Armenia Buries Helicopter Crew With Military Honors". RFE/RL. 25 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Service for killed Armenian pilots held at Yerevan church". ArmeniaNow. 25 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. 12 November 2014. 
  16. ^ Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 20 November 2014