Azeri Spy Drone Downed Over Disputed Region, Karabakh Army Says
The unmanned aircraft was downed to prevent similar reconnaissance flights over the disputed area, which have become more frequent along the border in recent days, the Karabakh Defense Army said in a statement on its website today.
Eldar Sabiroglu, the head of the Azeri Defense Ministry’s press service, and Teymur Abdullayev, a spokesman at the ministry, didn’t answer phone calls today seeking comment.
Oil-exporting Azerbaijan is using energy income to acquire modern weaponry, including unmanned planes from Israel, with whom the Caspian Sea nation started joint production of drones, President Ilham Aliyev said in April. Today’s incident marks the first time an Azeri spy plane has ever been shot down over the majority-Armenian populated region.
The Azeri Defense Ministry has previously not denied Armenian media reports that some of the drones produced with Israel are being used to monitor Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan and landlocked Armenia fought a war over the region that left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 1 million displaced. The territory remains a potential flashpoint in a region where Russia in 2008 fought a five-day war with Georgia after separatist tensions flared up.
Russia, which borders the countries along with Iran, Turkey and Georgia, brokered a cease-fire in 1994. Talks on a final settlement, mediated by Russia, the U.S. and France, have failed to produce a binding agreement.
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