STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)—Due to Baku’s destructive activities and bellicose stance, it has already been a week since the Armenian side has no information about the fate of the crew of the Mi-24 helicopter of the Artsakh Air Force downed by Azerbaijani armed forces during a training flight.
Davit Babayan, the Press Spokesman of the President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, stated that getting information about the crew is a priority for the Armenian side and for this reason the Armenian side has turned to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the second time to start a dialogue with Baku.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, an unarmed Mi-24 helicopter belonging to the Artsakh Air Forces was shot down by the Azerbaijani armed forces while conducting an exercise flight. The area where the helicopter was shot down has been under fire from Azerbaijani forces since the downing of the aircraft, making it impossible to retrieve the bodies of the pilots or to inspect the wreckage. The Commander of the staff was the Major Sergey Sahakyan, accompanied by Senior Lieutenant Sarkis Nazaryan, and Lieutenant Azat Sahakyan.
Babayan told Armenpress that the helicopter was not intended for military action. “The helicopter was not intended for military actions and did not have any weapons in it. It just implemented training exercises. The helicopter was not of danger for the adversary. The Azerbaijani side hit the helicopter from the back.”
The Minsk Group Co-Chairs have also expressed very serious concern about the downing of the helicopter downing in their statement issued in Vienna.
The Head of the Communication Programs of the International Committee of the Red Cross Armenian Office Zara Amatuni told Armenpress that the Organization launched a case for the downed helicopter on Nov. 13 after receiving an official application.
“The Red Cross will conduct work in accordance with its procedure and activities to provide for a dialogue between Yerevan and Baku in order to get information about the fate of the crew of the downed helicopter,” said Zara Amatuni.
The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk promised to do everything possible to approach the crash site of the Artsakh Air Froce helicopter downed by Azerbaijan as soon as possible, the Ambassador said in an interview with Artsakh TV.
Kasprzyk said the OSCE’s recent monitoring of the “line of contact” between Artsakh and Azerbaijan went well. Asked why the OSCE Mission did not conduct monitoring near the site of the downed helicopter, the Kasprzyk said: “Naturally, after this incident I wanted to change the place of monitoring, but the response of my employee in the Azerbaijani side was that the situation is intense in that territory and it’s impossible to give security guarantees, which are necessary for our activity.” Kasprzyk noted that the OSCE is discussing the incident and is negotiating for access to the site of the crash.
“I understand those concerns. It’s absolutely understandable. I do everything possible in all possible ways, so that we could approach the helicopter as soon as possible,” The Ambassador noted, adding that he will discuss the issue this week in Baku.