STEPANAKERT—“It is regrettable that, ignoring calls from the international community to allow for the safe recovery of the bodies of the crew onboard Artsakh’s downed helicopter, and to refrain from ceasefire violations, Azerbaijan continues to make aggressive statements, where it distorts the truth of the incident and manipulates facts,” Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry said in a question and answer with News.am.
“In its attempts to justify the gross violations of humanitarian law, Baku is yet again invoking the UN Security Council resolutions,” the Foreign Ministry said. “We deem it appropriate to remind that the first and foremost requirement of all four resolutions was the immediate ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts. However, this basic requirement present in all resolutions has been repeatedly violated by Azerbaijan and has not been fully implemented so far, as evidenced by the incident with the downed helicopter,” Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry said, referring to the Mi-24 helicopter of the Artsakh Defense Army that was shot down last week by Azerbaijani forces while unarmed and conducting an exercise flight.
“Azerbaijan’s disregard towards the requirements of the four UN Security Council resolutions, its obvious desire to resolve the conflict by force, and constant threats of a renewed war have led to the devaluation and loss of effectiveness of these resolutions,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Following statements from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday urging Azerbaijan to allow for safe access to the helicopter crash site, Baku responded by accusing the OSCE, and specifically the OSCE Minsk Group’s US Co-Chair James Warlick, of making provocative statements because of the use of the term “neutral zone” to refer to the area of the frontline in which the helicopter crashed.
Artsakh’s Presidential Spokesman David Babayan retorted by defending the term, saying that despite what Azerbaijan might wish to be the case, the area is in reality a neutral zone between borders.