Armenia Publishes Photos of Fighter Jet It Claims Turkey Shot Down

Fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh entered a fourth day

Reuters
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Armenia posted pictures on an online government platform on Wednesday of the wreckage of a plane it said was a SU-25 warplane shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Sept 29.

Armenia publishes photos of wreckage it says is SU-25 warplane shot down by Turkish F-16 jetCredit: Gov't of Armenia

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied Yerevan's claim that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down the Armenian plane, killing the pilot. On Wednesday Armenia's defence ministry named the pilot as Major Valeri Danelin.

Fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh entered a fourth day on Wednesday in the biggest eruption of their decades-old conflict since a 1994 ceasefire. 

An aide to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said on Wednesday that two Armenian Su-25 fighter jets were destroyed on Sept. 29 after crashing into a mountain, and accused Yerevan of lying about one of its planes being shot down.

Armenia publishes photos of wreckage it says is SU-25 warplane shot down by Turkish F-16 jetCredit: Gov't of Armenia

Armenia posted pictures earlier of the wreckage of a plane it said was a SU-25 warplane shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Tuesday. It named the pilot as Major Valeri Danelin.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied the plane was shot down.

"Both planes crashed into a mountain and exploded and were destroyed. This shows the Armenian military leadership is not providing accurate information to its citizens and the public," presidential aide Hikmat Hajiyev said.

Regional conflict

The recent skirmishes have raised concerns about stability in the South Caucasus region, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets, and raised fears that regional powers Russia and Turkey could be drawn in.

Some of Turkey's NATO allies are increasingly alarmed by Ankara's stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region inside Turkey's close ally Azerbaijan that is run by ethnic Armenians but is not recognised by any country as an independent republic.

Echoing remarks by President Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday Turkey would "do what is necessary" when asked whether Ankara would offer military support if Azerbaijan requested it.

Cavusoglu also said French solidarity with Armenia amounted to supporting Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is home to many people of Armenian ancestry, hit back during a visit to Latvia. He said France was extremely concerned by "warlike messages" from Turkey "which essentially remove any of Azerbaijan's inhibitions in reconquering Nagorno-Karabakh".

"And that we won't accept," he said.

Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave, broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s in a war that killed an estimated 30,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

In Wednesday's clashes, the latest in decades of conflict, Armenian media said three civilians had been killed and several wounded by shelling in the town of Martakert in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan said 14 Azeri civilians had been killed since fighting began on Sunday, and released footage showing grey smoke rising from inside Nagorno-Karabakh as it was pounded by Azeri artillery. Photographs taken in the Azeri town of Terter showed people taking cover in dug-outs, and damaged buildings which residents said had been hit by Armenian shells.

Azerbaijan said ethnic Armenian forces attempted to recover lost ground by launching counter-attacks in the direction of Madagiz, but Azeri forces repelled the attack.

Armenia said the Azeri army had been shelling the whole front line during the night and two Azeri drones were shot down over Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's administrative centre. It was not possible to independently confirm the report.

In the latest telephone diplomacy, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country shares borders with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Rouhani expressed concern about the rising tensions, the Armenian government said, but gave no further details.

Pashinyan said he was not considering asking for Russia's help at this point under a post-Soviet security treaty, but did not rule out doing so.

He said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had not discussed the possibility of Russian military intervention when they spoke by telephone on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday Russia's military was closely following developments.

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