Papikyan's Paris visit unlikely to shift power balance between Baku, Yerevan
    Expert opinions

    INTERVIEWS  18 June 2024 - 13:57

    Vadim Mansurov
    Caliber.Az

    Armenian Defence Ministry delegation led by Minister Suren Papikyan, has embarked on a working visit to France. This move indicates at least one thing: representatives of the two countries will not be discussing regional peace but rather the continuation of military cooperation between Paris and Yerevan. Given France's destabilizing role in the South Caucasus, this will likely mean further militarization of Armenia and the fueling of revanchist sentiments.

    Caliber.Az has learned the perspectives of Russian and Ukrainian military experts on this topic.

    Russian military expert Alexei Khlopotov is confident that whatever Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan negotiates in Paris, it fundamentally changes nothing, including the balance of power between Baku and Yerevan.

    "Currently, Western interests are trying to use Armenia against Russia and as a means to contain the development of Azerbaijan and Türkiye. In the long term, we can expect Armenia to exit the CSTO, thereby accelerating the disintegration of the military coalition allied with Moscow.

    On the other hand, in its current form, Armenia is an ineffective and unviable state. As I have repeatedly said and written, Armenia's loss of sovereignty is inevitable. Flirting with the West only speeds up this process. These discussions are becoming more frequent and louder," the expert noted.

    Furthermore, he points out that today, the media is again raising the issue of Türkiye's potential exit from NATO.

    "I consider this a quite likely scenario in the long term. Türkiye in the long run will become a new center of power not only in the West Asian region, but on a global scale. If you like, we are witnessing the revival of empires in a sense. Russia is trying to restore its empire. Türkiye, in a significant sense, is restoring the influence of the Ottoman Empire. And I believe that, unlike Russia, Türkiye will succeed. Amid these global processes, the visit of an Armenian minister to France looks like a fly's flight to the nearest garbage dump. What can he agree on there? Buy another armored vehicle or missile system? Agree on instructors or observers? What can this change on a global scale?! Therefore, I attach absolutely no significance to this visit, regardless of the discussions," Khlopotov said.

    According to Ukrainian military-political analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko from the "Information Resistance" group, it would be completely unsurprising if new agreements for the supply of military equipment from France to Armenia were concluded during Papikyan's visit to Paris.

    "Thus, Armenia has specific groups of partners in the military-technical sphere, ever since it became clear a few years ago that supplies of Russian weapons to Armenia were no longer forthcoming. These partners are India and France, and there is a third partner — Iran, which now plays a more logistical role in this matter, as most Indian weapons reach Armenia through Iran, which is not much of a secret.

    An unusual tripartite alliance of suppliers has formed: India primarily supplies artillery, particularly 155-mm howitzers, multiple launch rocket systems, and small arms. France can provide the Armenian army with various types of armored combat vehicles (ACVs) and as well as armored vehicles for police missions. Additionally, we have seen Armenia repeatedly express interest in French air defence systems, such as the French 'Mistrals' or the Ground Master radar system for air defense, and it appears they will use it in the future," noted the military expert.

    At the same time, according to him, a significant problem for Armenia is not only rearming from Soviet military equipment to Western systems but also retraining personnel and military cadres.

    "Armenia will undoubtedly need time for this. It involves transitioning from Soviet calibers to Western ones, training young military specialists or retraining them. However, as the experience of Ukraine shows, this does not take an excessively long period, and within one year, new units of artillery, both barrel and rocket, and assault artillery can be formed in the Armenian army," Kovalenko concluded.

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