French weapons arrive in Armenia through Georgia

French President Emmauel Macron and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan meet in Paris before the transfer of weapons (Photo: RA Office of the Prime Minister)

YEREVAN—France’s government has initiated the dispatch of weapons to Armenia, setting in motion terms set forth in French-Armenian cooperation agreements inked last month. 

Footage aired recently showcased the unloading of several French-manufactured Bastion versatile armored vehicles and parts of the ARQUUS’ brand, specifically designed for the Bastion, at Georgia’s Poti port along the Black Sea coast. The shipment reportedly included over 21 Bastion vehicles out of the 24 allocated by the French military. These vehicles and corresponding components are slated to journey from Poti to the Georgia-Armenia border for transfer to the Armenian side. 

France had initially intended to supply the Bastion armored personnel carriers to Ukraine but was rejected by Kiev, as reported by Ouest France. The 12.5-ton vehicles were turned down by Ukrainian authorities, who determined that they would provide inadequate protection against artillery and anti-tank missiles. La Tribune had previously disclosed France’s plans to provide Kiev with 20 Bastion vehicles in October 2022.

When asked about the reports and images circulating on Telegram channels regarding France’s delivery of military equipment to Armenia, spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Armenia Aram Torosyan refrained from providing further details beyond the official messages and statements on cooperation in the defense sector between Armenia and France stating, “We cannot disclose any additional information at this time.” 

This move by the French military follows the signing of agreements aimed at “expanding bilateral cooperation” last month. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna had previously announced Paris’s commitment to forthcoming contracts for supplying military equipment to Yerevan. The contracts were formally signed on October 23 in Paris, where Armenia’s Defense Minister Suren Papikyan and his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu were signatories.

Lecornu emphasized that along with the arms delivery, France would provide training for Armenian officers on operating the military equipment and support ongoing reforms within the Armenian armed forces. He underscored the defensive nature of the weaponry, stating it was intended to bolster Armenia’s self-defense capabilities and protect its population.

France also plans to sell Mistral short-range surface-to-air missiles and three radar systems to Armenia. Reports suggest that around 50 units of VAB MK3 medium-weight combat-proven armored vehicles might also be part of the current agreements.

Georgian authorities confirmed that France dispatched ACMAT Bastion armored personnel carriers to Armenia via the Port of Poti, which was also verified by APM Terminals Poti to RFE/RL’s Georgian service. 

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ayhan Hajizadeh strongly criticized France’s supply of armored vehicles to Armenia. He expressed concern that this equipment transfer would bolster Armenia’s military strength.

Hajizadeh rebuked France for undermining efforts toward regional normalization based on “mutual respect for sovereignty and borders,” stating that the weapons dispatch would exacerbate regional tensions. He urged both Armenia and France to halt regional militarization, advocating for peace and cooperation as the sole viable path forward. Furthermore, he called on the international community to refrain from arming Armenia, claiming such actions impede peace and prosperity in the region. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan continues to arm itself with Israeli weapons. 

When asked about the transfer of French armored vehicles to Armenia through Georgia, Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili stated, “Every nation retains the right to maintain defense forces and acquire conventional weaponry allowed by international agreements.” Darchiashvili affirmed that both countries should equally access Georgia’s transit function, noting that baseless insinuations were unwarranted.

Furthermore, he reiterated Georgia’s stance on non-participation in the “3+3” negotiation format. Darchiashvili highlighted Georgia’s positive bilateral relationships and cooperative ties with neighboring countries Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, reinforcing Tbilisi’s commitment to maintaining amicable relations in such bilateral formats.

As the republic receives military equipment rejected by Ukraine from France, Armenia has also finalized an arms deal with India. Armenia reportedly plans to acquire anti-drone military equipment worth $41 million from India, specifically the Zen Anti-Drone System (ZADS), to bolster its air defense capabilities. Armenia has reportedly signed the contract involving supply, maintenance and training by Zen Technologies. This follows prior defense cooperation between India and Armenia following the 2020 Artsakh War, including arms deals totaling $400 million, which consist of Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRL), anti-tank missiles, rockets and ammunition. 

The European Union has also discussed providing non-lethal military aid to Armenia. During its November 13 meeting, the EU Foreign Affairs Council deliberated enhancing the EU monitoring mission by sending more observers and patrols to the Armenian border. The Council emphasized vigilance against destabilization in Armenia and warned Azerbaijan against compromising its territorial integrity. 

Armenia’s deepening relations with the West and India suggest a significant shift in regional geopolitics. These deals aim to diversify Armenia’s arms suppliers beyond its traditional reliance on Russia. There is speculation that Armenia could take further steps, such as withdrawing from Russian blocs like the CSTO and the EAEU. Russia, though equipped with economic leverage, has not taken action against Armenia’s pivot. 

Armenian authorities have repeatedly declined to participate in CSTO meetings. Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan has informed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that he will not be present at the upcoming CSTO Summit in Moscow on November 23, citing scheduling constraints. The Armenian government, via its Telegram channel, conveyed Pashinyan’s decision, hoping for understanding from CSTO partners. This follows Pashinyan’s absence from the CIS Summit in Bishkek last month. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pashinyan voiced discontent over the fulfillment of alliance obligations by the CSTO and Russia, stressing Armenia’s need to diversify its national security relations.

Armenia’s pivot away from Russia is taking place amid uncertainty over the status of enclaves in Armenia and the potential threat of Azerbaijani aggression aimed at controlling a corridor through the Syunik province.

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan was an active member of the Armenian community in Los Angeles until she moved to Armenia prior to the 44-day war. She graduated with a master's in International Affairs from Boston University, where she was also the recipient of the William R. Keylor Travel Grant. The research and interviews she conducted while in Armenia later became the foundation of her Master’s thesis, “Shaping Identity Through Conflict: The Armenian Experience.” Hoory continues to follow her passion for research and writing by contributing to the Armenian Weekly.
Hoory Minoyan

Latest posts by Hoory Minoyan (see all)


  1. To the chagrin of Azerbaijan according to their media claiming it aggravated tensions and was a backstab by Georgia. This shows that Georgia isn’t entirely in lockstep with Turkey and Azerbaijan and is prepared to some extent to defy them for Armenia’s sake.

    • It’ll be interesting to see how France, the EU and America think they’re going to change Geography.

    • Not necessarily for Armenia’s sake, but converging with European union policy, and helping Armenia to distance herself from Russia.
      It is reach of Baku war monger pan Turk government to criticize Armenia for acquiring defensive weapon while herself spends a lots of petrodollar arming herself by modern lethal offensive weapon made by the most heinous government of the world, namely Israel, and also from Turkey.
      Defensive capability is not enough for Armenia, Armenia needs offensive capability to deter the war monger tyrant Alyev from lunching another invasion. As long as that pan Turk tyrant is in the office in Baku, Armenia has no option but gains parity offensive capability.

  2. The main and only reason France is helping Armenia is to appease the strong French Armenian Diaspora. Once again, the stupidity and arrogance of ALL current and past Armenian leaders who have completely ignored the powerful resourceful Armenian diaspora and pretend its because of their diplomatic effort or because now all of sudden Armenia has “democracy”. How often does one hear Armenia fruitlessly begging for the “international Community” to do something. Why would they? Just look at Artsakh and that disaster.

    The Armenian diaspora’s only interest is the betterment of Armenia. Not to steal from it and not to control it. Why not understand this well and invite all diaspora leaders to come and unite, to become one army nation all working together to strengthen Armenia’s security, economy, technology, and yes together to instill justice and lasting peace. Asking for peace will not bring peace. Further, why not have dual citizenship? Why not allow diaspora youth to serve a 2-4 year training in the Armenian military? Israel does it. Just imagine expanding the military by hundreds of thousands of capable ready fighters? Imagine the motivation and resources that this would produce when diaspora kids are on the front lines? Further Armenia’s population would grow. What a powerful nation Armenia would be. THIS IS THE ONLY ANSWER!

  3. This is yet another Azerbaijani con game. They don’t want Armenia to be able to defend herself because as long as Armenia is weak and defenseless under the current incompetent and treasonous Armenian leadership they will be able to dictate “peace” to Armenia based on their own terms. That is what “peace and normalization” in the region means to them. They could also use the French arming of Armenia, not with offensive but defensive weapons, as an excuse for potential future aggression against Armenia if they can’t get from Armenia what they want.

    The hypocrisy of the criminal leadership of artificial gas station of Azerbaijan knows no bounds. They object to Armenia getting back on its feet while they continue arming themselves with weapons from NATO member terrorist Turkey, which not only was behind the 2020 invasion of liberated Armenian territories but that it planned and conducted the invasion on militarily incompetent Azerbaijan’s behalf, as well as acquiring deadly weapons from the morally-bankrupt and hypocritical Zionist state of Israel which does everything to destabilize the region in preparation for a sneak attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities from military bases they have set up on Azerbaijani-occupied Armenian territories right next door to Iran.

    Manufacturing tensions with Armenia is how the chicken-hawk of artificial Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev with his false bravado remains in power. This criminal needs to learn a lesson from Armenia like his late KGB father did in 1990s right in front of his own eyes, to sober up and come back to reality. Unfortunately, that won’t happen until we have a TRUE Armenian patriot in office who knows how to handle this empty suit and fascist pan-Turkic pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani terrorist.

  4. Why does Armenia accept Ukraine’s rejected weapons? Do the military experts think they are more suitable for mountains than flatlands?! Maybe. But, most of all what is needed is effective drone finder-killers to protect our borders and border patrols from being threatened by snooping enemy drones and stop easy land-grab by the enemy. And with modern armour and well-trained fighters, to push them back and get on with recovering stolen Armenian lands. This should not be just a dream today but reality sooner or later. However, just as Az has Turkey, it is important for Armenia to become aligned with a powerful ally not a million miles away. This leaves either Russia or Iran….or maybe both.

    • Turkish technology is superior to Iran’s and Russia is too bogged down in Ukraine to spare anything, France is sending scraps. Only choice left for Armenia is to deal with Aliyev.

  5. These weapons are symbolic. All they will do is further alienate Russia. And that means more trouble for Armenia down the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.