By concluding military contracts with Armenia, France steps into Russia’s backyard

By concluding military contracts with Armenia, France steps into Russia’s backyard

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Chosen analytical news site (Entekhab.ir):

Euronews: On Friday, February 23, France and Armenia welcomed the growing military cooperation between the two countries amid tensions between Yerevan and Moscow.

In the meeting of French Defense Minister Sébastien Le Courneau with his Armenian counterpart in Yerevan on February 22, it was agreed that Paris would deliver some defense equipment to Armenia.

The meeting of the defense ministers of France and Armenia took place while the diplomatic tensions between Paris and Baku intensified since last December. In December, the Republic of Azerbaijan arrested a French citizen on charges of espionage.

After meeting with his French counterpart in Yerevan, Armenian Defense Minister Soren Papikyan said that Armenia will use its own facilities and those of its allies to “modernize” the army.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has relied on Russian military and economic support. The country also hosts a Russian military base.

Some political analysts believe that after Russia’s military attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow does not want to damage its relations with Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Armenia is worried that the Republic of Azerbaijan, as a richer and more armed country, while having the support of Turkey, will attack the south of Armenia and take over the lands of this country.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned last week that Azerbaijan is preparing for a “full-scale war” with Armenia after decades of tension over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

While Armenia is facing border defense challenges, France has stepped into Russia’s backyard by concluding military contracts with this country.

Now, with the visit of the Minister of Defense of France to Yerevan, Armenia signed a contract to purchase advanced military equipment from the French Armament Industries Company “PGM”.

In October 2023, France agreed to sell three radar systems as well as night vision goggles to Armenia, which angered the Republic of Azerbaijan.

France’s defense minister said it is Paris’ responsibility to help Yerevan build Armenia’s defense capabilities.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has strongly criticized France’s “militarization” policy in the Caucasus.

Analysts believe that both Moscow and Baku are closely monitoring the growing cooperation between Armenia and France.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron, in a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, expressed concern about the “danger of escalating tensions” between Yerevan and Baku.

With its alliance with Moscow broken, Armenia is looking for new friends, and France, with its Armenian minority living in the country, is one of the best options. More than 600 thousand Armenians live in France.

In a conversation with “France 24” TV channel, Mr. Pashinyan announced the suspension of his country’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is a defense pact led by Moscow. The Kremlin announced on Friday that it had not received such a request from Armenia.

Armenia’s prime minister also accused Moscow of launching a “coordinated propaganda campaign” against him and his government.

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