Armenia says it shot down Azerbaijani helicopters in disputed region

Armenia says it shot down Azerbaijani helicopters in disputed region
The Armenian army destroys Azerbaijani tanks at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan (Armenian Defense Ministry via AP)

Armenia’s defence ministry has said it shot down two Azerbaijani helicopters as fighting broke out in the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian forces also hit three Azerbaijani tanks, the ministry said.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnically Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan that has been out of Azerbaijan’s control since the end of a war in 1994. Both sides have a heavy military presence along a demilitarised zone separating the region from the rest of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s forces destroy an Armenian anti-aircraft system (Armenian Defence Ministry via AP)

The Armenian defence ministry said the latest fighting began with an Azerbaijani attack, but Azerbaijan said the Armenian side attacked and that Azerbaijan had launched a counter-offensive.

Turkey condemned the attack, with ruling party spokesman Omer Celik saying: “We vehemently condemn Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan. Armenia has once again committed a provocation, ignoring law.”

He promised Turkey would stand by Azerbaijan and added: “Armenia is playing with fire and endangering regional peace.”

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said: “Armenia has violated the ceasefire by attacking civilian settlements… the international community must immediately say stop to this dangerous provocation.”

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