Armenians Allege Su-25 Was Downed at Long Range by Turkish Viper. Turkey Denies.
Multiple news outlets, many in proximity to the conflict, started reporting that, “A Su-25 jet of the Armenian Air Force was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter in the airspace of the Republic of Armenia” on Sept. 29, 2020. Reports in Russian media claimed the F-16 was “60 kilometers inside Azerbaijan’s air space” when the intercept took place.
Public Radio of Armenia reported that Press Secretary of the Armenian Ministry of Defense, Shushan Stepanyan, confirmed that the Su-25 was shot down. The single crewmember was killed in the incident.
Stepanyan also Tweeted that, “Today, at around 10:30 am, F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force took off from the “Ganja” airport from the Republic of Azerbaijan and ensured the delivery of bombing and missile strikes against settlements and ground units of the Armenian Armed Forces”.
According to Greek news outlets and social media accounts, “Turkish F-16 jets were deployed to Ganja Airbase in July/August under the pretext of joint exercises, but remained there. A week ago, they were seen flying over Ganja city by locals.” At the time of writing it is still not clear whether there are Turkish F-16s still deployed to Azerbaijan or not.
Reminder that Turkish F-16 jets were deployed to Ganja AB, Azerbaijan in July/ August under the pretext of joint exercises, but remained there. A week ago they were seen flying over Ganja city by locals (pic 3). pic.twitter.com/TEsbfwzswu
— 301🇦🇲 (@301_AD) September 29, 2020
On Sept. 30, the Armenian Government also released some images of the crash site of the downed Su-25:
On Sep29,F-16 multifunctional fighter of the #Turkish Air Forces downed within the airspace of #Armenia in Vardenis region the SU-25 Fighter of Armenian Armed Forces which was carrying out combat tasks to repel attacks on military and civilian objects. #ArtsakhStrong #NKpeace pic.twitter.com/YHyIZO5Eb3
— Government of Armenia (@armgov) September 30, 2020
This wreckage seems to be a few hundred metres before the border between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh at roughly 40.271, 45.957. It is also about 5km from the Azerbijan, Armenia, NK triborder region. https://t.co/ujELHvIc9Q pic.twitter.com/PgMcSl1HGL
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) September 30, 2020
While the images may indeed show what remains of a Frogfoot, details are not enough to confirm the downing.
Turkish officials have rejected the accusation, stating that the claim an F-16 was involved in the incident is false.
BREAKING — Turkey denies that it had shot down an Armenian military plane, Erdogan’s Comms Director tells Bloomberg
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) September 29, 2020
Someone said that the Su-25 was indeed shot down, but by an Azerbaijanis MiG-29 Fulcrum and not by a Turkish Air Force F-16:
Armenian AF Su-25 Forgfoot shot down by AzAF MiG-29 Fulcrum today 10.30 local time. Su-25 was shot down inside Armenian Air Space over the town of Vardenis, northern Armenia. Probably by an R-27. It was NOT shot down by an TuAF F-16. pic.twitter.com/78ISmFmoNQ
— MiG-29 Fulcrum (Izdeliye 9.12/9.13/9.51) (@StefanKnippsch3) September 29, 2020
As of late on Monday, September 28 in the region, Armenian media outlets claimed 49 remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), 4 helicopters, 80 armored vehicles, 1 aircraft and 82 un-armored motor vehicles belonging to the Azerbaijanis have been destroyed by the Armenian military during the clashes in the disputed Nagorno-Karabah region.
The involvement of Turkey in support of the Republic of Azerbaijan in their clash with Armenia would signal additional escalation in the conflict and if reports of Turkish involvement in the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan are accurate, there could be additional involvement from other countries, including Russia. Three days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed “serious concern about the renewal of large-scale military conflict”. Putin went on to call for a halt to hostilities in a phone call with Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, according to an official statement from Russia’s Kremlin.