Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Fail to Condemn Artsakh Helicopter Downing

The downed Mi-24 helicopter. Azerbaijan shot an Artsakh Army helicopter killing three servicemen.

VIENNA, WASHINGTON—In the aftermath of Wednesday’s downing of an Artsakh Army helicopter by Azerbaijani forces, the OSCE Minks Group Co-chairmen issued an announcement expressing “serious concern” about the incident but, once again, failing to condemn Azerbaijan for its aggression.

“The Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States, and Pierre Andrieu of France) express our very serious concern about the downing of a helicopter near the Line of Contact and the recent violence. We regret the loss of life and express our condolences to the families,” said the Minsk Group statement.

“The Co-Chairs are deeply worried by the events that prompted this drastic incident, the first of its kind since the ceasefire agreement was reached. We strongly appeal to the sides to avoid steps that would escalate tension along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. The region cannot afford another round of violence like we witnessed this summer. Today’s events remind us of the volatility of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the urgency to intensify efforts to find a lasting settlement. We remain resolved to assist the sides in any way possible,” added the statement.

“We remind the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan of their responsibilities to respect the ceasefire and honor the commitments they made in Sochi, Newport, and Paris to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. We also encourage them to adopt confidence-building measures now that would increase transparency along the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, and reduce the likelihood of events like today’s incident,” concluded the statement.

At around 1:45 p.m. local time, Azerbaijani forces shot an Mi-24 military helicopter belonging to the Artsakh Armed Forces, killing three servicemen. The helicopter was on a training mission and according to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry was unarmed.

Baku claimed that the helicopter shot at Azerbaijani positions in Aghdam on the border of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The allegation was dismissed by the Karabakh authorities, who added that after shooting down the helicopter, the Azerbaijani forces continued the shelling of Karabakh positions throughout the afternoon.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee has condemned this latest attack by Azerbaijan and is urging the international community to take appropriate measures to condemn Azerbaijan and its continued military aggression.

“While the Minsk Group Co-Chairs appear to appreciate the gravity of Azerbaijan’s aggression – as reflected in their welcome expression of ‘serious concern’ over Baku’s fatal attack on this helicopter, the OSCE’s public response once again falls back into the deeply flawed pattern of placing equal blame on both sides for hostility that all the world knows is being directed by one man – Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

The ANCA also urged the White House to condemn the attack on the unarmed helicopter.

“The Obama Administration must forcefully condemn Azerbaijan’s downing of an unarmed helicopter flying over Nagorno Karabakh, cut off all military aid to Baku and scale back bilateral contacts until President Aliyev ceases his aggression against Artsakh and Armenia. Our White House needs to give up on the long-ago discredited idea that there is some sort of parity between the parties. The facts are clear, and should guide U.S. policy: Artsakh is a democracy offering its hand in peace; Azerbaijan is a dictatorship escalating its anti-Armenian aggression. America should stand on the side of peace and democracy,” said Hamparian.

The ANCA has initiated a video call to action to secure additional statements from Congress in this regard. Watch the ANCA video.

Congressional reaction to Wednesday’s attack, which claimed the lives of three Artsakh servicemen has begun to pour in.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement: “The apparent shootdown of an unarmed helicopter over the territory of the NKR, demonstrates Azerbaijan’s callous disregard for human life and its willingness to engage in provocative acts of violence to distract from its domestic problems,” said Rep. Adam Schiff. “This horrendous conduct threatens to destabilize the entire region.”

The European Union also weighed in on the attack, urging “restraint” by the sides and failing to condemn Azerbaijan for its military aggression.

“Following reports of a cease-fire breach on 12 November 2014 along the Line of Contact, in which a military helicopter is reported to have been shot down, it is essential that all sides show restraint and avoid any actions or statements which could escalate the situation. Furthermore, we call for an investigation into this incident,” said a statement by the EU.

“The European Union reiterates its full support to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and the three Co-Chairs. Both sides have to strictly respect the ceasefire, to refrain from the use of force or any threat thereof, and to resume efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” continued the EU statement.

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14 Comments

  1. Nevzat said:

    Hmmm, what would the Israelis do when stuff like this happens? or for that matter any country but Armenia. It’s best for slow escalation than wait for an full scale azeri surprise attack.

  2. ED said:

    The latest cynical comments made by the chief of the criminal and Nazi like Foreign Relations Department of the Azerbaijani President`s Administration Novruz Mammadov says a lot. This fascist is see “Armenian lobby ” behind western critics to the criminal actions of the regime in Baku!
    There should be not be any doubt that this provocation was order by the Azerbaijani President himself and the message is clear: if international community and above all the West continue to criminal and fascist Azerbaijani regime Armenians will pay for it!

    THERE ARMENIAN SOLDER LOST THERE LIFE BECAUSE THE CRIMINAL REGIME IN BAKU WANTED TO SEND A SIGNAL TO THE WEST TO STOP VOICE CRITICS AND START TO “LOVE THEM”

  3. Hagop hagopian said:

    Invade Azerbaijan and arrest aliyev and hang him likesaddam Hussein.
    Enough is enough who cares what the thugs in the state department comment or a handful of congress members or EU members.

  4. Sergik said:

    Instead of just condemning we should retaliate, that’s the only way to stop them otherwise they will do this again and again.

  5. Armen said:

    They never will condemn it, the whole thing is a dog and pony show. International law is BS, the only thing that matters is force.

  6. Art said:

    If we had persuaded Western Armenia issue the way Azeris are doing in case of Karabakh. We could at list get Kars Ardahan and Erzrum back…

  7. For NKR said:

    Propaganda Video released by Azerbaijani deface minstrelsy and statements of criminal officials i Baku are the best prove that the the criminal regime in Baku was after making a “real” propaganda video. There should not be a doubt that all these was approved by the Azerbaijan President!

    There are may actions witch NKR and Armenian could take- but for all these actions Serzh Sarkisan and his team were and are not the right President and team Kocharian would act different!

    1- erasure the military position which they opened fire on the military holocaust – late but not to late!

    2- Give to all these criminal Azerbaijani provocation a non military answer. Start operating civil flights from Stepanakert air port and warm Azerbaijan and be ready to hit the air port in Baku if Azerbaijan makes problems

    3- hit a pipeline if so called international community is not ready to take the warnings of Armenia side seriously ! – Make the international community and so called OSCE +Germany that this is not 1915 any more

    3- stop playing so called chess and football games see the criminal regime in Baku is after only criminal actions and provocation

    I Thin the past has shown that the current Armenian ruling part /regime is not ready to handle since they are much concern about there own business and profits

  8. Areg said:

    You know what! The hell with them all. Armenia must pull out of the negotiations. Everyone pack up and go home. Armenians do not need you. The hell with you and Turkey and Azerbaijan.

  9. GeorgeMardig said:

    Who can trust Minsk Group if they keep acting biassedly against Artzakh (former Nagorno-Karabakh)

  10. Avetis said:

    Since last summer Baku has been trying hard to draw Armenia into a serious confrontation on the border. Their purpose is to cause a situation in the region which would derail Yerevan’s upcoming membership in the Eurasian Union. So, this provocation by Baku has geopolitical undertones. Yes, Armenia has to respond in some manner, but the response has to be measured/asymmetrical. We can’t start a war simply because that is what Turks want. Going forward, we need to better protect our forces and hit back at a time of our choosing. Once Armenia becomes a full member in the Eurasian Union these provocations will gradually come to a halt.

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