World Bulletin/News Desk
The Azerbaijan Defense Ministry on Thursday warned that its forces will shoot down aircraft that violate its air space.
"The Azeri army will shoot down aircraft that violate the air space of our country," the Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement was released one day after the Azeri army shot down an Armenian helicopter.
“The helicopter which was acting in provocation was shot down by our soldiers,” the statement said.
The ministry said that Azerbaijan defines the presence of Armenian air forces in Nagorno-Karabakh as a violation of the country's air space in accordance with international law, and the rulings of the International Civil Aviation Authority.
On Wednesday, Armenian military aircraft opened fire at the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces at Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in western Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's defense forces shot down an Armenian helicopter and three crew members were killed in the incident, according to reports from Azerbaijan's defense ministry.
“If similar actions are taken, we will destroy the air craft making the violations with modern weapons,” the statement said.
Armenian authorities denied violating Azerbaijani air space.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense said that “a Mi-24 helicopter of the Air Force was shot down during a training flight in the air space of Karabakh-Azerbaijan border as a result of a cease-fire violation by Azerbaijani armed forces.”
“The area of attack is too close to the contact line,” the Armenian ministry said. The contact line is a limit defined in the 1994 cease-fire agreement between the two countries.
The chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Didier Burkhalter, urged Thursday "the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect the cease-fire and to honor the commitments they made in Sochi, Newport, and Paris to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict."
Russia's foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also called on Azerbaijan and Armenia "to keep away from steps that would escalate the tension" on Thursday.
On May 12, 1994 a cease-fire agreement was signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia after two decades of conflict about a territorial dispute.
In February 1988, the regional parliament in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians, voted to declare its independence from Azerbaijan.
Armenia's parliament voted to recognize that independence and that forced the evacuation of over 200,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis from Armenia. Thousands of Azeri civilians lost their lives in the resulting conflict.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Kasım 2014, 09:55