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Kremlin: Paris will either deliver Mistrals or return prepayment for ships

April 27, 2015, 13:06 UTC+3
"The position is very simple — either the goods or the sum that has been already paid in advance", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said
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© Michel Plassart/TASS

MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande have agreed that France will either deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia or the prepayment for them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"No specific dates were announced," Peskov told reporters answering a question whether Putin and Hollande discussed the timeframe for solving the Mistral dispute at their meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, last week.

The Russian presidential spokesman confirmed that the issue was discussed in line with what the French president announced during a press conference in Paris on April 22.

"In fact, this stance was confirmed. The position is very simple — either the goods or the sum that has been already paid in advance. In general, it was confirmed that the sides share this stance," he said.

At their April 24 meeting in Yerevan, the Russian and French leaders discussed the Mistral issue. "The Mistrals were also discussed and in this case, there are no problems here," Peskov said.

After the talks with Putin, Hollande said no final decision on the Mistral ships was taken. France will either deliver the Mistrals, but there is no such decision yet. In other case, Paris will compensate Russia for its expenses and the amount of this compensation will be discussed later.

"For the moment, no decision has been taken," Hollande said.

The €1.12 billion contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011.

Under the contract, Russia was expected to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of 2014. However, Paris suspended the ship’s handover to Russia at the very last moment over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.

It was planned that the second ship dubbed the Sevastopol would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case with the first Mistral ship.

Hollande said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on April 22 in Paris that there were yet no conditions for the Mistral delivery to Russia.

Moscow has stated several times that it will agree to both options: the delivery of Mistrals or the prepayment.

Le Journal du Dimanche reported Sunday that it has been actually decided that "Paris will return Russia €800 million paid earlier and compensate for other expenses on the project in the amount of another €300 million."

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

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