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Russia prepared for any outcome of Mistral affair in relations with France — source

November 11, 2014, 12:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW
November 14 hasn't been cancelled as the delivery date
Material has 1 page
© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

Infographics Mistral helicopter carrier Mistral helicopter carrier
Russia will purchase Mistral-class helicopter carriers from France. Infographics by TASS

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Russia is prepared for any outcome of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships affair in relations with France, a source in Russia’s system of military-technical cooperation told TASS.

“Frankly speaking, Russia is prepared for any scenario regarding the Mistral affair. If the contract is honored, there can be no grievances. If not, there will follow the legal claims the effective contract provides for,” the source said.

He recalled that France had not sent any notifications to Russia it had cancelled the original date of the first helicopter carrier’s handover to Russia, scheduled for November 14. “As far as I know, November 14 has not been officially cancelled yet,” the source said.

At the end of last month French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said that the conditions for handing over to Russia the first amphibious assault ship had not taken shape yet. Paris has repeatedly mentioned a settlement in Ukraine and the enforcement of the Minsk Accords as a precondition for delivering the ships.

The contract for building two helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was concluded in June 2011. The first one called The Vladivostok was launched in October 2013. In September 2014, it made a test voyage with Russian sailors on board. The second Mistral, the Sevastopol, is scheduled for delivery in 2015.

Earlier, a source in Russia’s system of military-technical cooperation told TASS the contract allowed Paris to postpone the handover of the first ship, originally due in November, by approximately three months. In case of default, France will have to pay Russia a major penalty.

Also, the same source told TASS that Paris would be unable to sell the Mistrals to other countries, because the ships already carry Russia-owned equipment.

He explained that to remove Russia’s communication control system and cables the ship would have to be taken apart.

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