Armenian Military Promises Retaliation for Helicopter Downing

Armenian Mi-24 helicopters fire missiles during a military exercise.

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The armed forces of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday vowed to retaliate strongly against Azerbaijan for shooting down an Armenian helicopter gunship on “the line of contact” east of Karabakh.

“What happened was unfortunate for us and impudent of them. We will undoubtedly deliver a proportionate — and even a bit disproportionate — answer to their actions,” Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian told reporters in Stepanakert.

Ohanian’s first deputy, Davit Tonoyan, similarly spoke of “collateral damage” which he said the Azerbaijani military will suffer as a consequence of the “new form of ceasefire violation.” “By collateral damage I mean Armenian forces’ possible actions in response to the downing of the helicopter and, of course, the risk of disrupting the negotiation process and nullifying efforts to strengthen the ceasefire,” he said in written remarks released in Yerevan.

Neither Ohanian nor Tonoyan elaborated on the retaliatory actions planned by the Armenian side. General Movses Hakobian, the commander of the Karabakh Armenian army, would also not be drawn on them. “It’s up to the army to decide what actions we will take,” Hakobian said.

Ohanian and Hakobian answered journalists’ questions after watching, together with President Serzh Sarkisian, Armenian military exercises held in and around Karabakh. Both military leaders reiterated strong Armenian denials of Baku’s claims that the Mi-24 combat helicopter flew over Azerbaijani army positions and attempted to attack them before being shot down on Wednesday.

The helicopter fell to the no man’s land separating Azerbaijani and Karabakh Armenian forces in the Aghdam district just east of Karabakh. Hakobian said his troops have still not been able to approach the wreckage of the helicopters and recover the bodies of its three crew members presumed dead because of heavy Azerbaijani gunfire.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Friday that its forces are not firing at the crash site.

The authorities in Stepanakert have asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) to help arrange the repatriation of the three pilots: Major Sergey Sahakian, Senior Lieutenant Sargis Nazarian and Lieutenant Azat Sahakian. An ICRC spokeswoman in Yerevan, Zara Amatuni, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the Red Cross has already asked the Azerbaijani authorities to allow its representatives to inspect the wreckage.


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  1. Armen said:

    Give them hell on April 24th, call it Operation Angel Sword or something equally old testament. Turn a day of mourning into the day we say “ENOUGH!”

  2. Armenian Christian said:

    We can’t take the bait…
    Let them come into the mountains…
    Anti tank and Anti Aircraft shoulder systems…
    Brigades of thousands men trained and ready…
    The paper tiger shall be no more…
    Israhell will have to find a new gas station to continue there Palestenian genocide…

  3. Reader said:

    Armenian organizations all across the globe should make the recognition of Artsakh their priority. We need effective strategies to make this happen. Investments should be made in countries with the highest potential for recognition.

  4. GeorgeMardig said:

    Armenia should act smart and only him to decide when and how to retaliate, and should not be dragged into a war decided by Azerbaijan.

  5. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Dont retaliate with tit fot tat – that is what the Azeris wont and expects so they can escalate the conflict with exuses.
    They want a War.

    Topple the Azeri Regime and whipe out all Azeri military Forces !.
    Strike hard and decissivly and crush the Head of the snake !.


  6. john goncuian said:

    How many more examples do we need to C from AZERI bastards who R BAD all the time ? Knowing our ENEMY Azeris have NO ethics & morality which should explain the realities to ARMENIANS why on earth wud U fly in the line of contact?, The proper answer will depend on what ARMENIA is answering with , and how much retaliation ? This is not clear to me !!! It points out similarities every year AZERIs will kill with sniper attacks , border incursions and shooting down helicopters for Aliyev’s domestic politics to silence his critics. ARMENIA must improve herself for AZERI evil.

  7. Arto said:

    I am sure there are strategic reasons why the Armenian government has not responded to Azeri provocations in the past. But please AR do not say you will retaliate when you will not. If you are not going to retaliate then please STFU.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      The President did not say when, Armenia should and will retaliate when the time is right, and not be dragged by Azerbaijan.