Military analyst Davit Sofiyan believes that a panic stricken Azerbaijani military position fired upon an Armenian Mi-24 helicopter yesterday out of confusion.
“They just didn’t know what to do and fired,” Sofiyan told Hetq.
Sofiyan is of the opinion that yesterday’s operation against the Armenian helicopter hadn’t been agreed to by the Azerbaijani military command, even though the Azerbaijani press has reported it as such.
According to Azerbaijani news outlets, the country’s defense minister Zakir Hasanov awarded Ilkin Muradov Mamed Oglu, with a medal "for excellence in military service of the third rank" for bringing down the Armenian helicopter.
Sofiyan said that it was only natural for Azerbaijan to claim that the Armenian helicopters were in attack mode since they would never accept the fact that their forces had fired on aircraft engaged in a peaceful flight, which appears to be the case as shown in a video shot by the Azerbaijani frontline unit involved in the incident.
When asked if yesterday’s incident had anything to do with a visit by a Turkish Special Forces’ general to Azerbaijan. Sofiyan responded that visits by top Turkish military officials to Baku are commonplace and that it wouldn’t be correct to draw any links.
Sofiyan added that he hoped Armenia’s response to the incident would be clearly seen by the people of Armenia since, in this instance, such transparency is vital.
“While we know that Armenia always responds to their aggressive acts, oftentimes such operations aren’t made public. This is one of those times when it should,” Sofiyan told Hetq.
The analyst said he didn’t think that yesterday’s incident would escalate into full-blown fighting. If such operations were to follow, they would only come after a lull, he noted.
As to a possible response by the Armenian side, Sofiyan said a similar strike on Azerbaijani military equipment wouldn’t be appropriate.
“The response should be such so that they cannot use it as an argument to charge the Armenian side with resuming hostilities. That’s to say our response should be such so that we show we are punishing them for what they did,” Sofiyan said.
After reviewing the video of the downing of the helicopter, Sofiyan believes that all three crew members were killed, even though there has yet to be any official statement to this effect.
While the Artsakh government has petitioned the International Red Cross to assist in locating the crash site and the return of the crew’s remains, Azerbaijani forces continue to fire on the area, thus preventing Armenian units to approach the downed helicopter.
Armenia’s ministry of defense has already revealed the name of the helicopter commander, Sergey Sahakyan. Armenian news outlets have listed the names of the other two crew members as Senior Lieutenant Sargis Nazaryan and Lieutenant Azat Sahakyan.