When Azerbaijan shot down a Russian military helicopter in the last hours of the war with Armenia, Moscow appeared to initially accept Baku’s explanation and apology that it was a tragic accident.
But now, nearly two months later, Russian military prosecutors have said they intend to pursue more serious charges and formally reclassify the case as one of “murder,” Russian media have reported.
The more serious charges suggest an intention by Moscow to play hardball with Baku, amid under-the-surface tensions that have developed as a result of Russia’s new military presence on Azerbaijani territory.
Azerbaijani forces shot down the Russian Mi-24 on the evening of November 9 on the border between Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan. The helicopter was apparently servicing a small Russian outpost in the Armenian town of Yeraskh. Two members of the crew were killed and one injured.