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French Weapon Sales Stir Controversy In The Caucasus

Armenia Minor, 1865
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A cold conflict is escalating between France and Azerbaijan. And the latest twist in the tit-for-tat spat is heightening the prospect of renewed conflict in the Caucasus.

On June 18, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu announced the sale of 36 Caesar self-propelled howitzers to Armenia. The move immediately sparked vitriolic responses from Azerbaijan and Russia. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry called the sale as a “provocative” step that could revive the region as a “hotbed of war.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova echoed the Azerbaijani narrative, saying that “Paris is provoking another round of armed confrontation in the South Caucasus, and they are doing it in different ways.” 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry brushed off the criticism, issuing a statement asserting that “it is the sovereign right of every country to have a combat-ready army equipped with modern military hardware…”

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