MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Azerbaijan downed Russian helicopter by mistake and is ready to compensate Moscow for the damages, the republic's Foreign Ministry announced.
"The helicopter was flying in the close vicinity of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border at the time of active hostilities in the zone of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The flight was taking place after dark, at a low altitude, outside the air defense radar detection zone. Helicopters of the Russian Armed Forces had not been detected in said area previously," the ministry stated. According to the ministry, "in the context of the aforementioned factors and in the light of the tense situation in the region and the high military alert due to possible provocations of the Armenian side, the on-duty operational crew made the decision to use deadly force."
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry expressed condolences over the death of the crew members of the downed Russian helicopter. "The Azerbaijani side apologizes to the Russian side over this tragic incident, which was of an accidental nature and was not aimed against the Russian side. The Azerbaijani side sends its deepest condolences to the families of the crew members killed in the incident and wishes the soonest recovery to those injured. The Azerbaijani side is ready to pay the corresponding damages."
Earlier on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry informed that a Russian Mi-24 helicopter had been downed over Armenia near the border with Azerbaijan from a man-portable air-defense system. Two crew members were killed and one was evacuated with moderate injuries to the home air base. Earlier, the Armenian Emergencies Ministry reported that a Russian helicopter had crashed in the mountains near the settlement of Yeraskh near the border with Azerbaijan.