Armenia and CSTO Seek Common Ground, France Emerges as Armenia’s New Arms Supplier

France Steps In Armenia's Evolving Security Partnerships.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Armenia and Russia are engaged in a dialogue to gain a deeper mutual understanding, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal featuring Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. As per his assertion, Armenia has expressed concerns concerning the conduct of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh and Russia’s stances on security-related issues within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

In response to a query regarding Armenia’s continued membership in CSTO, Nikol Pashinyan, prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, said that Armenia is discussing issues with the CSTO.

The interview was published on Pashinyan’s social media page.

“We do not want to misunderstand the CSTO, and we do not want to be misunderstood by the CSTO on any issue,” Pashinyan said.

Per his assertion, this necessitates a methodical progression until a definitive resolution.

As per his remarks, Armenia has expressed concerns concerning the conduct of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh and Russia’s stances on security-related issues within the CSTO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously stated that Russian peacekeepers have conscientiously fulfilled their obligations in Karabakh. He also noted that Russia has used all legal mechanisms to provide humanitarian support in Karabakh.

The Armenian side lost all the land around Nagorno-Karabakh and some land that was part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. Russian troops were deployed in the area. Armenia refused to accept the unrecognised Republic of Karabakh’s sovereignty during its existence. Nikol Pashinyan said Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan in talks with the West at a news conference in Yerevan in May 2023.

After months of embargo, Baku launched a military offensive in Karabakh on September 19, 2023. One purpose was to dismantle the governmental authorities of the unrecognised Republic. With the intercession of Russian soldiers, a ceasefire deal was negotiated within a day, with one of the requirements being the disarmament of Armenian forces.

Following that, many rounds of negotiations between Karabakh and Baku authorities focused on the region’s incorporation into Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan announced that the country’s territorial integrity has been restored. Over 100,000 Karabakh inhabitants moved to Armenia between September 24 and the end of the month.

When Azerbaijan launched its military action in Karabakh at the end of September, there were protests in Yerevan. Protesters in central Yerevan’s Republic Square demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who had recognised Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. Demonstrators and police officers clashed on several occasions.

Paris as a Russian alternative?

On October 23, Paris and Yerevan reached an agreement for the purchase of weaponry by Yerevan from French manufacturers. The day before, Armenia’s Minister of Defense, Suren Papikyan, arrived in the French capital for a working visit. According to the French Minister of Defense, Sébastien Lecornu, these supplies will help Armenia protect its airspace. 

He met with officials like Sébastien Lecornu, the French Minister of Defence. The meeting discussed issues related to Armenia and France’s military and regional security cooperation. Different ways to work together have been found, and the results of the deals made in Paris in September 2022 and June of this year have been summed up.

News reports say everyone is happy with how cooperative things are and is ready to work harder to take them to the next level. A gathering to sign documents for working together between the two countries took place at the French Ministry of Defence.

Russia is no longer selling weapons to Armenia to defend national security. As archrival Azerbaijan continues to re-arm, Yerevan has to look for fresh sources of armaments. After the conflict in 2020, Russia’s imports began to decline, eventually ceasing entirely when limited war erupted in Ukraine. Yerevan aspires to make up for the shortfall now that the Second Karabakh War is over with the support of France and India.

In 2022, it was revealed that Armenia had spent $244.7 million on ammunition and weapons from India. This included acquiring several “Pinaka” launch rocket systems. In January 2023, Indian media stated that Armenian authorities planned to replace Soviet-era S-125 “Pechora” air defence systems with Indian MRASM. There were also reports of ATAGS self-propelled howitzers being purchased in India. Furthermore, Forbes, an American publication, said that Armenia was planning to send four Su-30SM fighters purchased from Russia in 2019 to India to be modernised and outfitted with advanced missiles.

Following the expulsion of over 100,000 Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, France strengthened its influence in Armenia. To be more explicit, France opted to open a consulate in Armenia’s Syunik area. Representatives from France and Armenia have often expressed their willingness to expand their security cooperation over the past several years.

Most nations do not always purchase weaponry to employ in conflict. Most of the time, they do it to gain someone’s favour or to ensure their safety. When one country buys the arms of another, they do so with the idea that the seller will come to their aid. For example, this is how European countries, the Middle East, and Asia buy weapons from the United States.

French armament, in particular, is among the most expensive to maintain and purchase. In addition, qualified French personnel are required for training and maintenance. Despite this, Armenia’s choice of an armaments supplier makes perfect sense in strengthening ties with Western nations.


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