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Mistral Deal - 2015

The French newspaper Le Monde reported in August 2015 that the officers of the Main Staff of the French Armed Forces from the very beginning did not agree with the intention to sell the Elysee Palace "Mistral" of Russia. "A complete coincidence of views on the possible sale of" Mistral "of Russia in France never happened before. From the beginning of the senior officers of the Main Staff of the French Armed Forces expressed its disagreement with the plan of selling Russian helicopter".

It noted that in the end it was a positive decision "for the sake of maintaining good relations between France and Russia, but also based on the need to financially support naval shipyards of Saint-Nazaire, is in a difficult situation." "This is the line to take the then French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Defense Minister Herve Morin - and they insisted. The final decision was made by President Sarkozy, who acted as arbitrator in the dispute," - the newspaper said.

French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said 01 January 2015 that his country would deliver two warships ordered by Russia only if there were concrete signs of lasting peace in Ukraine. "There needs to be ... a process of ceasefire that is respected and a political roadmap that would lead to the return of peace and calm," Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio station. "I see that efforts are being made, but as long as they are neither tangible nor verifiable, we cannot make a decision," he added.

Moscow initially had no plans to file claims against France over Hollande's decision to put the Mistral warship deal on hold, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said. No, we are not planning to file any [claims] at the moment, he said. Everything is specified in the contract, and we will act under that contract, just like all civilized people do.

An article in Le Point weekly magazine in May 2015 stated that if Paris falls back on its promise to give the two vessels to Moscow, the French government could end up having to pay an overall cost of up to 5 billion ($5.7 billion), if it does not fulfill its contractual obligations. Instead of bringing the French ship building cooperation DCNS a profit of 1.2 billion and those involved in the construction 980 million, the cancellation of the deal could cost France between 2 billion and 5 billion, the article stated.

The magazine said that talks are ongoing between the respective French and Russian parties, although, significant differences in regards to the amount of compensation exist. The publication adds that France is now looking to return Russia less than the 890 million that Moscow has already paid for the vessels.

Russias Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin ruled out allowing Paris to sell the Mistral warships to a third party without Moscows go-ahead. Without our permission they cant sell anything, he said. Rogozin added he had already explained the situation to the French, while Russia has an end-user certificate for the stern parts of the vessels.

Rogozin said the stern parts of the helicopter carriers were built at a shipyard in St. Petersburg before being moved to France for further assembly, he explained. France will also be unable to use the Mistral vessels as part of their fleet because the warships were built to meet the Russian Navys specifications, Rogozin also stressed.

Oleg Bochkaryov, a deputy chairman of the Russian Military Industrial Complex told journalists on 26 May 2015 that Russia plans to build its own Mistral-class helicopter carriers to replace the ones not delivered by France. We have these types of ships plannedbut we will build them a bit differently. Were not going to blatantly copy the [French] Mistral [design] right out, Bochkaryov said.

According to Kommersant, Bochkaryov was rebuked by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin because Russia has never officially given up on buying the two warships from France and Bochkaryov had never taken part in the negotiations on their delivery.

Russia is capable of building its own equivalent of Mistral-class helicopter carrier equipped with nuclear power engines as Moscow is aware of the design of the French-made ship, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma's Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev told RIA Novosti 27 May 2015. "It will not be difficult from a technical point of view to build something like Mistral especially since we have gained access to the drawing list of the [French] helicopter carriers as a number of our weapons systems are adapted to the military characteristics of these ships," Gutenev said.

Should the Russian Armed Forces need to build a ship similar to the French-made Mistral, it will be a "ship similar in size, but with a nuclear power engine," which will be equipped with "air defense and anti-submarine defense systems."

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Page last modified: 29-09-2015 19:07:28 ZULU