Armenia says its fighter jet shot down by Turkey
September 29, 2020 - Armenian says one of its fighter jets was shot down by a Turkish jet in a major escalation of the conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has seen heavy fighting in recent days.
The Armenian foreign ministry said the pilot of the Soviet-made SU-25 died after being hit by the Turkish F-16 in Armenian air space.
Turkey, which is backing Azerbaijan in the conflict, has denied the claim.
Nearly 100 people, including civilians, have died in three days of fighting over the disputed mountainous region.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but the vast majority of the 150,000 population is ethnic Armenian and rejects Azeri rule. It survives on budget support from Armenia and donations from the worldwide Armenian diaspora.
Azerbaijan is backed by Turkey, which has close ethnic and cultural ties. Azerbaijan supplies Turkey with natural gas and crude oil.
Armenia has a defence alliance with Moscow. Russia has two military bases in Armenia but it is also friendly with Azerbaijan.
The renewed fighting prompted calls to end the hostilities from around the world.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for “an immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table" in phone calls with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Greece that “both sides must stop the violence” and work “to return to substantive negotiations as quickly as possible.”
Russia, which along with France and the United States co-chairs the Minsk group set up in 1992 to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, urged every country to help facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
- The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Visual Explainer (Crisis Group)
- Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: Casualties mount in Nagorno-Karabakh battle (BBC)
- Armenia, Azerbaijan accuse each other of cross-border attacks, civilian toll climbs (Reuters)
- Why Stakes Are Raised in the Azeri-Armenian Conflict (Bloomberg)
- Explainer: Who's fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, and why does it matter? (Reuters)