Azerbaijan's disinformation campaign targets Paris 2024 Olympics, French armoured vehicles arrive in Armenia

France Azerbaijani French Azeri flags

France's cyber defence unit has uncovered a disinformation campaign originating in Azerbaijan intended to undermine Paris' ability to host next year's Olympics, a report said on Monday.

According to Reuters, the campaign was conducted from July 26 to 27 on the account of an an X (formerly Twitter) user from Azerbaijan with links to the country's ruling party.

"The investigations showed that at least one foreign actor close to Azerbaijan had acted, via the use of unauthentic processes, with the objective to harm France's reputation in its capacity to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games," France's state service for Vigilance and Protection against Foreign Digital Interference (Viginum) said in its report.

The campaign, which included photos and a video showing clashes between French police and protesters seen by millions, was carried out under the slogan #boycottparis2024 after the riots in Paris at the end of June.

However, Viginum said it could not link the campaign directly to Azerbaijani authorities. Neither the government nor the ruling party were immediately available for comment.

Relations between Paris and Baku have been strained in recent months and have worsened since Baku took control of the historically and indigenously Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh region.

At the time of the campaign, France had repeatedly criticised the Azeri authorities for blocking the Lachin Corridor, the main road linking Armenia with the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A French diplomatic source said Paris had asked Baku to clarify the disinformation campaign.

French weapons arrive

Armenia received a batch of Bastion armoured vehicles from Acmat as part of a military cooperation program with France. The batch, consisting of 22 armoured vehicles, arrived at the Georgian port of Poti, from which it left for Armenia by rail.

It is noted that the French company ARQUUS is the consignor of the cargo.

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During her recent visit to Armenia, Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, stated that Paris agreed to sign an agreement with Yerevan on supplying military equipment necessary to meet Armenian defence needs.

In addition to armoured vehicles, France promised to sell Armenia air defence systems to protect the country’s airspace.

The French refused to specify which military equipment and weapons would be supplied to Armenia within future contracts.

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