- “The Azerbaijani side offers an apology to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
- “Helicopters of the Russian air force had not been previously sighted in the area.”
- Azerbaijani troops took control of Shusha, the second largest settlement in Karabakh, which has an extremely important strategic and symbolic significance.
Azerbaijan admitted to shooting down a Russian helicopter over its territory and apologized to Moscow. Azerbaijan expressed its willingness to pay compensation to Russia for the accident. They explained that a unit of the army believed that there were “provocations from the Armenian side,” in the context of the conflict over the Nagorno Karabakh region.
“The Azerbaijani side offers an apology to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
They added the move was an accident and “not aimed against” Moscow. “Helicopters of the Russian air force had not been previously sighted in the area,” it added.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that two of the crew were killed and a third injured in the accident. It stated that the helicopter was shot down over the territory of Armenia not far from the border with Azerbaijan.
In a statement, it said, “the Mi-24 helicopter came underground fire from a mobile air defense system.” The helicopter was hit as it escorted a convoy of vehicles from a Russian military base in Armenia, close to the border with Azerbaijan.
For its part, the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that it had deployed ambulance teams on the scene.
Azerbaijan Claims Victory
Azerbaijani troops took control of Shusha, the second largest settlement in Karabakh, which has an extremely important strategic and symbolic significance.
On October 29, the president of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arayik Aratyunyan, reluctantly recognized Azerbaijan’s advance towards Shusha. He was reminded the local saying, “whoever controls Shusha controls Karabakh.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on November 8 that Azerbaijani troops took control of the strategically important city of Shusha in Karabakh. The Armenian Ministry of Defense has traditionally denied the statements of the Azerbaijani side, but in fact admitted that the battles are not going out of town, but “in the city.”
Shusha is located at the dominant height, only 10 kilometers from Stepanakert, the capital and largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, unlike Stepanakert, which received city status only under Soviet rule, Shusha traces its history back to the 18th century, when the city, with its fortress walls, was erected in 1750 by Panakh-Ali Khan to protect the Karabakh Khanate.
At the time of the collapse of the USSR, about 90% of the inhabitants of the settlement were Azerbaijanis. In addition, Shusha is the birthplace of many prominent Soviet and Russian cultural figures.
Many experts, including Russian ones, noted that the change of seasons could negatively affect the combat capability of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, and even completely interrupt the counteroffensive. However, as political scientist Maksim Shevchenko noted in an interview, the Azerbaijani leadership and the army showed the will to win.
The capture of the city marks a turning point in the military campaign, as it demonstrated the real dynamics of military operations in the region. The Armenian side was traditionally reluctant to recognize any advance of Azerbaijani troops deep into Karabakh (and, accordingly, its retreat).
Many military experts noted that the assault on Shushi would be a difficult task since it would require “at least one motorized rifle brigade with reinforcement means” operating in the gorges and the surrounding wooded mountains, and the second – to hold the city.