Nov. 9 (UPI) — The Azerbaijan navy on Monday admitted its forces had shot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter in Armenian airspace, killing two crew members, and stated it was an accident.

“The Azerbaijani aspect apologizes to the Russian aspect in reference to this tragic incident, which is unintended and was not directed in opposition to the Russian aspect,” the Ministry of International Affairs stated in a press release. The ministry additionally expressed condolences to the households of the lifeless crew members and stated Azerbaijan “declares its readiness to pay acceptable compensation.”

The helicopter was shot down by a human-held surface-to-air missile whereas in Armenian airspace close to the Armenian settlement of Yeraskh, close to the border with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan. The Mi-24 was “accompanying a car convoy of the 102nd Russian navy base,” the ministry stated.

“The Russian Mi-24 helicopter was downed within the airspace over the territory of the Republic of Armenia exterior the fight zone,” Russian Protection Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Russian Protection Ministry spokesman advised TASS, the state information company.

In October, Russia agreed to assist Armenia if the Azeri clashes spilled into its territory, underneath a 1997 treaty between the 2 international locations.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been combating since Sept. 27, with Armenia calling for the Nagorno-Karabakh territory to be acknowledged internationally as an impartial state. Azerbaijan accuses it of eager to seize extra land.

Armenians administer the disputed area, which is positioned inside Azerbaijan’s borders. A number of ceasefire agreements have damaged down and either side have accused the opposite of airstrikes on civilian targets.

Azerbaijan has accepted assist from Turkey, together with shopping for armed TB2 drones offered by Baykar, owned by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar and his household, in accordance with the Monetary Instances.

Azerbaijan stated Monday that the accident occurred as a result of the flight passed off at nighttime, at low altitudes, exterior the air protection radar detection zone. Russian Air Drive helicopters haven’t been seen beforehand within the space, the Azeri authorities stated.

However Armenia’s authorities stated Azerbaijan was providing “false and groundless” makes an attempt to justify the assault and hinted that Russia is likely to be drawn into the battle.

“We’re satisfied that using drive in opposition to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will obtain an ample response,” the Armenian international ministry stated in a press release on Monday.