STEPANAKERT — A Mi-24 helicopter of the Nagorno Karabakh army was shot during a training flight as result of ceasefire violation by the Azerbaijani armed forces at about 1pm local time.

According to the NKR Defense Ministry, the attack took place at the eastern section of the line of contact between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. The Azeris have continued firing in the direction of the helicopter crash site.

The downing of the helicopter at the line of contact with Artsakh was an unprecedented provocation, which resulted in the escalation of the situation, Spokesman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannnisyan said.

“Senseless are the assertions of the Azerbaijani side that the Armenian helicopters attacked their positions. The investigation of the debris of the helicopter will prove it was not armed,” the Spokesman said.

“The Azerbaijani side continued to aggravate the situation even after the helicopter had been shot down. Moreover, the shelling from the Azerbaijani side was making it impossible to approach the pilots,” Hovhannisyan said.

“The consequences of this unprecedented escalation will be very painful for the Azerbaijani side and will remain on the conscience of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan,” he said.

The commander of the helicopter was Major Sergey Sahakyan, the Spokesman said, adding that further information about the fate of the crew would be provided.

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency 3 servicemen of Karabakh military were killed in the attack.

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