EU Reporter’s Propaganda Article about the Armenian-Azerbaijani “Arms Race”

Ani Avetisyan

Journalist, fact-checker

An article titled “Armenia instigates arms race in the South Caucasus” was published on March 14 by the Brussels-based EU reporter website. The article was written by Shahmar Hajiyev, a political analyst from Azerbaijan who was invited to write for the website.

The article discusses Armenia’s recent procurement of weapons and its increased defense budget. It also accuses Armenia, along with its new allies France and India, of provoking a potential new escalation in the region. These accusations repeat the propaganda claims made by the Azerbaijani authorities.

One-sided analysis and propaganda

The Azerbaijani author only mentioned the weapon acquisitions of RA but did not provide details about the quantity or efficacy of Azerbaijan’s acquisitions.

Over the past few years, Azerbaijan and Armenia have allocated a similar percentage of their GDP towards their respective defense budgets, ranging from 3-5%. However, there is a significant discrepancy between the two countries’ military expenditures in absolute terms. Azerbaijan’s defense budget is about five times greater than that of Armenia.

The author’s statistical data on the weapons procured by Armenia and the country’s military budget may be accurate. However, comparing the expenditures and weapons acquired by Azerbaijan and Armenia indicates that the article manipulates the topic of Armenia “instigating an arms race.”

The article discusses Armenia’s increased military spending during the Second Artsakh War as part of the 2021 budget.

The author refers to the Indian Pinaka weapon purchased by Armenia as only offensive. However, the weapon is designed for both defensive and offensive purposes.

The writer notes that Armenia’s military expenses are relatively high compared to its GDP. Azerbaijan’s military expenses are also similar. According to the Military Balance 2024 report, Armenia’s military expenditures accounted for 5.2% of its GDP in 2023, while Azerbaijan’s accounted for 4%.

Considering the difference in gross domestic product between the two countries, the defense costs of Armenia and Azerbaijan are not comparable in absolute terms.

In 2020, Armenia decreased its military spending by 2.6%, while Azerbaijan, getting ready for the September war, increased its military spending by over 17%. This year, Azerbaijan allocated approximately 13% of its total budget expenses to military expenditures, whereas Armenia allocated 17%.

Armenia and Azerbaijan’s military budgets are available in state budget documents and international databases and reports.

After the second Karabakh war, Azerbaijan increased its military budget by 20%, increasing it from $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion annually. Following the war, Armenia also significantly increased its military expenses, and in 2023, for the first time, Armenia planned to allocate more than one billion dollars for its military budget. Last year, Armenia’s military budget reached approximately $1.25 billion, which is more than 47% higher compared to the previous year’s budget of around $900 million. In comparison, Azerbaijan’s military budget was approximately $3.5 billion.

 For 2024, Azerbaijan is planning to spend 3.77 billion dollars, while Armenia is planning to spend approximately 1.4 billion dollars. According to the article published in EU Reporter, Armenia has increased its military spending by approximately 80 percent in comparison to the previous year (2020). Azerbaijan’s military expenses, on the other hand, have increased by roughly 64 percent during the same period. Additionally, Azerbaijan has been investing more in the military budget, resulting in an almost two-fold increase in the country’s military budget from 2018 to 2024.

Azerbaijan’s weapons are more effective and “offensive”

Although the author of the article expresses concern about the offensive nature of the weapons acquired by Armenia, since 2020, he forgets to mention that Azerbaijan has acquired a significant number and “most offensive weapons,” particularly from Israel and Turkey.

According to Israeli sources of the British military website Shephardmedia.com, the latest information on Azerbaijan’s acquisition of new weapons was published on March 15. Azerbaijan is reportedly interested in acquiring new types of satellites from Israel. In February of this year, Azerbaijan acquired new Akıncı attack drones of the Bayraktar type, which were used during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The production of these drones began in 2019. It is worth noting that back then, the Azerbaijani authorities criticized Armenia for acquiring military weapons.

The Azerbaijani army primarily sources its weapons from Israel and Turkey, while the Armenian army relies mainly on Russian or Soviet-produced weapons.

More about the EU Reporter

Eurreporter.co is a news website headquartered in Brussels. It was established in 2001 as a print newspaper focused on EU politics. Over time, the website expanded its coverage area and began publishing advertising materials for a fee. However, another European news outlet, Politico, accused Eurreporter.co of engaging in covert lobbying in 2021.

Guest authors frequently contribute articles to the site. In recent months, Mazahi Afandiyev, a member of the Milli Mejlis of Azerbaijan, has written most of the articles about Azerbaijan.

Reposts/retweets from the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium can be found on their X account since last year.

Ani Avetisyan

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