A Russian-made Armenian SU-25 fighter plane was shot down over Armenian territory on Tuesday. According to the Armenian government, this happened by a Turkish F-16, but Turkey denies it.
This is feared to mean a further escalation in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. Fighting started there on Sunday, raising fears of destabilization in the region. Turkey has taken it up for Azerbaijan.
The Turkish government has already denied that it shot down an Armenian plane. “That is absolutely untrue,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman.
In any case, that is contrary to the official version of Armenia. “A Turkish F-16 took off from a base in Azerbaijan at 10:30 am, which resulted in a fight between an Armenian SU-25 and the Turkish F-16,” said a statement. The SU-25 was hit and crashed. The pilot was killed. ‘
Erdogan’s spokesman asks Armenia to withdraw from the areas it occupies, “instead of resorting to cheap propaganda tricks.”
In Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave in Azerbaijan, fierce fighting has been taking place between Armenian separatists and the Azerbaijani army since Sunday. Azerbaijan said it had already retaken seven villages in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday. According to military reports, Azerbaijani forces also occupied strategically important heights in the mountain region.
The official death toll on Tuesday is about 114. Among them, 11 civilians are said to have died: 9 in Azerbaijan and 2 on the Armenian side. This morning the deaths of 26 Armenian separatists were reported. But the numbers could be much higher, as both camps claim to have killed hundreds of enemy soldiers.
On Tuesday, the UN Security Council will meet for an emergency session behind closed doors.
The conflict between the former Soviet republics has been ongoing for years. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is an enclave in Azerbaijan that was part of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union. Armenia has long owned the region and the population is predominantly Armenian, but Azerbaijan has wanted the region back for decades. Azerbaijan is receiving support from Turkey in the conflict.
The area split off in 1988, leading to a conflict in 1992-1994 that left 30,000 dead. It has been a fragile file since 1994. The current fighting is the deadliest revival of violence in recent years.
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