Azerbaijan largest importer of weapons in Europe in 2011-2015, study finds

By bne IntelliNews February 24, 2016

Azerbaijan was the largest importer of major weapons in Europe, after its deliveries increased by 217% from 2006-2010 to 2011-2015, a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) finds. Meanwhile, the UK was the second largest importer, despite experiencing a 17% decline in its import during the two study periods.

Azerbaijan's investment in military equipment and personnel, which officially stands at some $4bn a year but unofficially is believe to be between $2bn and $3bn a year, is a sign of Baku's frustration with the peace negotiations with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku and Yerevan have been in a state of frozen conflict since signing a ceasefire in 1994, and the former has reiterated its position that the status quo is not an option it is willing to consider. Nevertheless, both sides have stuck to their principled positions and have failed to make any compromise in over two decades.

While Armenia is supplied with weapons by Russia, which recently announced a $200mn worth shipment of weapons, Azerbaijan has used oil revenues to purchase weapons - also from Russia. In 2011-2015, Baku accounted for some 5% of Russia's total weapon exports, compared to 0.7% in 2006-2011.

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