Moscow accepts apology from Azerbaijan for downed Mi-24 helicopter

Moscow accepted Azerbaijan's apology, as Baku "instantly" admitted the mistake and promised to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of two Russian military men, the head of the Kremlin press service Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with RT.

The quick reaction from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, his willingness to conduct an impartial investigation and punish those responsible for the shootdown of the Russian Mi-24 helicopter over the territory of Armenia allowed Moscow to accept an apology for the tragic incident, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in the interview.

According to Peskov, the death of the Russian military who served at the Russian army base in Armenia came as a real tragedy.

"The instant reaction from the Azerbaijanis, the instant reaction from the President of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan's readiness to conduct an impartial investigation into the circumstances and punish the guilty made it possible to accept those apologies," Peskov said.

The military of Azerbaijan shot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter with a MANPAD missile over the territory of Armenia on the evening of November 9; two crew members were killed, one survived. Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry said that the helicopter was escorting a convoy of the Russian military base stationed in Gyumri, Armenia.

After the incident, Baku said that the helicopter was shot down by mistake, as it was flying in the immediate vicinity of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, where Russian Aerospace Forces had not been noticed before. In addition, the helicopter was flying at night. Azerbaijan apologized to Moscow, promised to investigate the incident, punish those responsible and pay compensation to the families of the killed Russian military men.

In an interview with RBC, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbul-ogly said that it was a  "a tragic accident," and also pointed out that "anything can happen in war."

Representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry described the words from the ambassador as "a big mistake." "If Russia followed the principle "anything can happen in," then the response would be disastrous," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, Hikmet Hajiyev, criticized the above-mentioned statement from the Ambassador and described it as "inappropriate."