Update: Azerbaijan has quickly owned up to the downing of the Russian military helicopter early Monday evening (local time). According to TASS citing official statements from Azerbaijan's foreign ministry:
Azerbaijan downed Russian helicopter by mistake, the republic's Foreign Ministry announced.
Baku is ready to compensate Moscow for the downed helicopter.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry expressed condolences over the death of the crew members of the downed Russian helicopter.
Though the incident is still being investigated, the Russian Ministry of Defense put out a statement indicating two of its pilots were killed. The MoD said a portable air-defense system was fired on the gunship from the ground near the village of Yeraskh close to the border with Azerbaijan.
Unconfirmed footage of the shoot down is circulating via Russian sources:
Hate when I accidentally shoot down a Russian helicopter over Armenia. pic.twitter.com/inAMqrKuW4— Serge (@Zinvor) November 9, 2020
The incident comes after Azerbaijan's army has reportedly been making big gains on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh over the past days.
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There are breaking reports out of Interfax and Sputnik Armenia that a Russian helicopter has been shot down over Armenian territory related to intense fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh contested border region.
Interfax is reporting that two Russian pilots were killed in the fiery crash and at least one other injured. Rescue operations and an investigation are underway.
The largest public radio broadcaster of Armenia has aired the following early details:
A Russian helicopter has crashed in Armenia’s Ararat Province, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. The Ministry says it received an alarm from Ararat Regional Crisis Management Center at 6:39 pm today.
The helicopter crashed in the gorge between the villages of Yeraskh and Paruyr Syak. Fire and rescue brigades have been dispatched to the scene.
Armenian military news sites are circulating nighttime footage of what appears to be a helicopter going down, but the video is unverified.
BREAKING NEWS: VIDEO REPORTEDLY SHOWING THE RUSSIAN HELICOPTER GETTING SHOT DOWN IN ARMENIA BY AZERBAIJANI FIRE FROM NAKHICHEVAN. pic.twitter.com/PHV0I2J6g9— 301🇦🇲 (@301_AD) November 9, 2020
Early reports also suggest the downing may have been from a MANPAD fired from the ground or possibly other type of portable air-defense system.
The Russian Ministry of Defense appears to have confirmed that it's lost one of its Mi-24 gunships over Armenian territory near the border. "The Russian Mi-24 helicopter crashed in Armenia after being subjected to fire from the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry reports," according to Russia's RT.
Russia's military has thus far been monitoring the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, warning Azerbaijan not to extend the battle into Armenian sovereign territory.
While Moscow has a defense pact with Yerevan, it's thus far sought to not get involved. However this may immediately change things. Russia's Sputnik details further that the Russian gunship had been escorting a convoy which departed from Russia's lone military base on Armenian soil in Gyumri:
A Russian Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) military helicopter has crashed on the territory of Armenia near the village of Yeraskh after it was shot from the ground by unknown forces using a man-portable air-defence system (SAM), Russia’s Defence Ministry has stated. The crash was caused by a loss of control after a missile hit the aircraft, the ministry added.
The report notes further: "At the time of the time of the attack, the helicopter was escorting a convoy from Russia’s 102nd military base, which is located in Armenia, as it was moving past Yeraskh, near the border with Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic."