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MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Senior Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov said on Wednesday he doubts whether France is acting as an independent state in the current dispute over the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia.
“Look at France and the situation over Mistrals. Everyone knows what the French national interest is. But everyone also understands that in this issue, France is not acting as an independent state,” said Pushkov, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma.
Amid the Ukrainian crisis, French President Francois Hollande decided to put on hold the delivery of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. If France fails to honor the contract due to West’s pressure, Paris will owe Moscow millions of euros in penalties.
Critics say that the refusal to deliver the ships to the Russian Navy shows that France fails to stand up for itself and has been submissive in the face of the US diplomacy.
Last week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in comments to the situation linked to the Mistral delivery that France makes independent decisions and considers that any outside instructions are inappropriate.
Under a €1.2 billion contract with Russia’s arms trading company, Rosoboronexport, the first Mistral warship, the Vladivostok, was to have been delivered in autumn 2014 and the second one, the Sevastopol, a year later.