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Russia lashes out at French arms sales to Armenia

20 June 2024
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova. Image via The Moscow Times.

Moscow has criticised Paris for selling arms to its military ally Yerevan, despite falling behind on delivering arms to Armenia.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova criticised the deal to its military ally during the briefing, calling it ‘one more step’ Paris was taking to provoke ‘another round of armed confrontation in the South Caucasus’.  

Zakharova accused Paris of not acting in the interests of Armenia and its people, and seeking to use ‘existing disagreements and contradictions within countries or between countries as a tool to achieve its own opportunistic goals’. 

‘I mean not only the personal interest of the Élysée Palace, but also France as a whole as a conductor of NATO ideology’.

Earlier this week, Armenia reached an agreement to purchase 36 CAESAR artillery systems from France.

[Read more: Armenia purchases French CAESAR artillery systems]

France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu on Tuesday called the deal a ‘new important milestone’. Le Figaro’s deputy director reported the following day that France was expected to deliver the weapons to Armenia ‘in the next 15 months’.


The CAESAR is a state-of-the-art long-range self-propelled howitzer that has received praise for its performance against Russian forces in Ukraine.

The CAESAR self-propelled howitzer. Photo: KNDS.

Prior to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War of 2020, Armenia heavily relied on its traditional ally, Russia, for arms and military equipment. It has since been distancing itself from Russia and its Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and instead diversifying its military and diplomatic relations.

Yerevan has been critical of Moscow’s failure to commit to weapon deals, having purchased military supplies from Russia in 2021 but only receiving the first batch of the agreed-upon supplies in January 2024.

After receiving the first batch in January, Armenia's Defence Ministry told RFE/RL that issues pertaining to arms imports from Russia had mostly been resolved, with several other problems remaining.

During her press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova addressed her country’s failure to supply weapons and military equipment to Armenia on time, stating that the export of arms was conditioned by Russia’s needs in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, suggesting that the delays had nothing to do with the deterioration of Russian–Armenian relations.

‘As for contacts with Armenia in the military-technical sphere, we do not refuse them; they are conducted on a regular basis. We didn’t see any complaints from that side’, she said.


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