MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. Russia calls on Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from moves which could lead to the escalation of tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
“We are very concerned about the incident which has led to the deaths of people. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” Lukashevich said, adding that Russia’s stance was reflected in the statement of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on November 12.
Russia reminds the leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia of their “responsibility towards complying with their commitments on searching for a peaceful resolution of the conflict which they took at the meeting in Sochi, Newport and Paris.”
Moscow together with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group “will continue targeted efforts to offer assistance to the sides in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the diplomat said.
Armenia's Defense Ministry said on November 12 that Azerbaijan's army had downed a Mil Mi-24 helicopter of the Nagorno-Karabakh defense army, killing three pilots. Azerbaijan's military said the helicopter had attacked their positions and had been destroyed in retaliatory fire.
Armenia's Foreign Ministry blames Baku for “blatant violation" of accords to settle the dispute.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a majority Armenian region within Azerbaijan that is de facto independent.
The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. An unofficial ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994.
Since then, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding negotiations mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Minsk Group on the region's disputed status.