YEREVAN — In a bid to counteract Russian influence in the Caucasus, France, alongside other European Union countries and the United States, extended humanitarian, military, and political aid to Armenia, eliciting a strong reaction from Azerbaijan.
France’s dispatch of military equipment to Armenia, aimed at bolstering its defense to deter any future attacks by Azerbaijan, especially following the mass displacement of the entire 250,000 strong Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, prompted Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to launch a vehement verbal assault on France. Aliyev accused France of instigating renewed hostilities in the South Caucasus and allegedly endorsing retaliatory forces within Armenia.
Aliyev’s accusations coincided with Armenia taking a bold step challenging Russia and Azerbaijan – signing an agreement with the European Union to enhance the EU’s presence through peacekeeping forces in the border region that separates Armenia and Azerbaijan. These statements also emerged as both conflicting nations expressed their intent to negotiate a peace agreement.
In another move aimed at curbing Moscow’s influence and safeguarding regional interests, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a financial commitment exceeding $4 million to aid those displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh.