French-Russian Mistral Ship Deal Continuing as Planned – Kremlin
MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) — The Kremlin believes that the Mistral warships deal with France is continuing as planned and scheduled, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
'We assume that everything is being implemented as scheduled,' Peskov said.
The French authorities reaffirmed last week that France would meet its obligations under a 1.2-billion-euro contract ($1.6-billion) on the construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy despite increased pressure from the United States and EU countries to cancel the deal.
In late May, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the decision on the Mistral deal should be made by France, reacting to a letter from a group of US lawmakers urging Paris to lease or sell the costly high-tech warships to another NATO member instead of Russia. The controversy made it to the spotlight as the tensions between Moscow and the West increased in light of the Ukrainian crisis, with the EU and the US introducing two rounds of sanctions against Russian companies and top authorities.
During the weekend gathering of G7 leaders, French President Francois Hollande said the second level sanctions against Russia did not provide for a waiver in the contract.
Under the June 2011 contract, the first French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, the Vladivostok, will be delivered to Russia by the end of the year, while the second ship, the Sevastopol, is due to arrive next year.
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