Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry on 12 November 2014 announced that an Armenian Military Helicopter (Mi-24 combat helicopter) was shot down by its force. The helicopter was shot down for violating Azerbaijan’s airspace. In the incident, three crew members of helicopter were killed.
As per Azerbaijan’s defense ministry, the army officer who shot the Mi-24 helicopter has been awarded with a third degree medal, For Distinguished Military Service. He was awarded for vigilance and heroism on combat duty.
When the plane was shot, it was flying in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in western Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians. The conflict in the region dates back to the Soviet era that ended in a ceasefire in 1994 but tensions have risen again recently.
This incidence of shooting down a military aircraft in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is first since the 1994 ceasefire. Since the 1994 ceasefire, the landlocked Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent Azerbaijani districts are controlled directly by ethnic Armenians.
The war between the two nations broke in 1988 and ended in 1994 with a ceasefire pact. Tensions between Armenia and oil-producing Azerbaijan has been over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a tiny mountainous territory in the South Caucasus.
Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, as the two sides (Azerbaijan and Armenia) have yet not signed a peace agreement, even after international brokered talks is in existence since years.
Earlier in 2014, more than 20 troops were killed from both sides and raised concerns of a new war. On the other hand, Azerbaijan says that it will take Nagorno Karabakh back by force if diplomacy fails.
The peace talks are being mediated by the OSCE-appointed Minsk Group of mediators and co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States. In October 2014, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited both countries to facilitate a negotiated solution to the conflict.
Apart from this, French President Francois Hollande has also hosted the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks but the meet ended without a breakthrough.
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