France says it will sell CAESAR howitzers to Armenia

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France has signed a contract to sell CAESAR self-propelled howitzers to Armenia, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Tuesday, as Yerevan deepens military ties with the West and moves away from its traditional ally Russia.

Lecornu posted on X that the contract was signed during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Suren Papikyan. He did not say how many systems Armenia would acquire.

France has a large Armenian diaspora, and is traditionally one of Yerevan’s strongest European backers.

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Armenia is formally allied to Russia, but has in recent years pivoted diplomatically and militarily towards Western countries, accusing Moscow of failing to protect it from long-time rival Azerbaijan. Russia has rejected the criticism, and warned Armenia against flirting with the West.

Azerbaijan in September 2023 retook its breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, securing a decisive victory in a conflict that had lasted more than three decades, and prompting a mass exodus of the province’s ethnic Armenian population.

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