Russia Will Not Sell Bal-E Coastal Defense System to Azerbaijan

On December 5, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported that Moscow will not authorize the sale of its Bal-E coastal defense system and 3M24 missiles to Azerbaijan. The report cited several unnamed Russian Defense officials who indicated the negotiation for the weapons system was discontinued over concerns that the 120 km range missiles might threaten Russia’s Caspian Sea fleet. Another official expressed concern that the system, which has capability against both sea and ground targets, may be used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a long-running territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia which has escalated in recent months. The prospective sale was first reported in May 2014 following the KADEX 2014 military exhibition in Kazakhstan. On December 6, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied it ever made efforts to obtain the Bal-E system.