A Russian military helicopter was shot down Monday near the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, killing two people and wounding a third, the Russian military has announced.
The helicopter was reportedly hit by a missile near the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan, according to the Associated Press (AP). The aircraft was in Armenia at the time of the incident, the Russian military says.
It is currently unknown if the attack is directly related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that has been raging between Armenia and Azerbaijan for weeks. Nakhchivan is about 40 miles away from the disputed territory, the AP says. Azerbaijan has reportedly taken responsibility for the attack, calling it an accident. (RELATED: Missile Strike Kills 21 Civilians In Azerbaijani Town As Violence Escalates In Nagorno-Karabakh)
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 9, 2020
Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh has intensified recently after multiple failed attempts at a ceasefire. Azeri forces are continuing to advance through the disputed territory, which is recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is run by a separatist group of ethnic Armenians. A spokesman for the government in Nagorno-Karabakh said that the Azeris had taken the strategically key city of Shushi and were now closing in on the region’s capital, the AP reports.
Several thousand people are feared to be dead as a result of the conflict up to this point, per Reuters. The U.N. Human Rights Chief recently said that attacks on civilian locales in the region could constitute war crimes. Russia’s Foreign Minister also alleged last week that thousands of militants are being sent to fight in the conflict from the middle east.