A Turkish air-force-issue F-16 fighter aircraft shot down an Armenian SU-25 fighter jet over the skies of Vartenis in Armenia on Tuesday, reported the Armenian military.
“Today, starting from 10:30, Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jets took off from the Gyanja airport in Azerbaijan and were being assisting Azerbaijani SU-25 fighter jet and Turkish-made Bayraktar drone bombings from the Azerbaijani Dalyar airport in the direction of civilian and military targets in Armenia’s Vartenis, Mets Masrik and Sotk regions,” said Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan.
“During this operation, the Armenian Air Force was providing air support to Armenia’s Armed Forces Air Defense units. During their mission, a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shot down an on-duty SU-25 jet of the Armenian Air Force in Armenian airspace,” explained Stepanyan, adding that the Armenian pilot died instantly.
The attack comes hours after Ankara said that it would help Azerbaijan repel “Armenian aggression,” offering both diplomatic and military assistance. Armenia said earlier that it was prepared to use Russian-made Iskander ballistic missiles in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region if Turkey deploys its American-built F-16 fighter jets in support of the Azeri offensive.
A spokesman for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied Yerevan’s claim to Bloomberg. Azerbaijan’s defense ministry has also denied that a Turkish F-16 jet has shot down an Armenian warplane.