Incident with Armenian helicopter: international observers’ dangerous formulations

Incident with Armenian helicopter: international observers’ dangerous formulations

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 13

Trend:

Immediately after the incident with a military helicopter of the Armenian armed forces shot down by the Azerbaijani servicemen in the airspace of Azerbaijan, the international observers and the media started assessing the incident.

Some talk about the need to investigate the incident, others simply report about the helicopter flying over the territory of Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. According to some media reports, this incident is a flagrant violation of international law by the Armenian servicemen. The Armenian side threatens retaliation against Azerbaijan for this incident and says that it was a training flight. However it is time to dot "i's" and make out the formulations.

No one denies that the helicopter was in the air space in the zone of a contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops. Everyone essentially recognizes that the Azerbaijani armed forces shot down a military helicopter in their own airspace.

All flights over onshore and offshore areas of a country, including its territorial waters, can be made only after obviously expressed consent of a country. Taking into account that the Nagorno-Karabakh is the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan and the airspace above it is the airspace of Azerbaijan, it becomes unclear what exactly must be investigated in this incident.

Under international law, military aircraft (plane or helicopter) must comply with the laws and regulations of the foreign state on a reciprocal basis while in the airspace of that state or on its territory. If military aircraft commits an unlawful act which clearly has the character of aggression, the state establishes this fact and has the right to take necessary measures for self-defense.

Regarding the incident with the Armenian helicopter that entered the airspace over the occupied territories of Azerbaijan that have been offically closed for many years by Baku, what were Azerbaijani armed forces supposed to do, after establishing a flagrant violation of international law? And who would have acted differently? Are there any cases in the history when the military aircrafts crossed the airspace of another country with impunity?

One Western official, quoted by the authoritative British newspaper Financial Times, said that in 2014 there were over 100 declarations of military alarm when NATO launched its fighters because of the actions of Russia near the airspace of the Alliance, which is three times more than during the whole 2013 year. This means that with a slightest suspicion of violation of the airspace, the Alliance did not hesitate to launch its war fighters, whose goals were obvious - protection of the air sovereignty of NATO at any cost. In this case, the open warning of the Alliance about the inadmissibility of penetration into the airspace for some reason did not cause a stir among other international organizations.

Given the above, I would like to call upon all the international organizations, colleagues - reporters and ordinary citizens to look at things realistically and recognize the right of Baku to protect its own airspace and territory by any means.

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