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Russia waiting for France’s proposal on settling situation with Mistrals — state agency

July 01, 2015, 10:38 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
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© EPA/Marcus Brandt

ST. PETERSBURG, July 1. /TASS/. Russia is expecting to receive France’s proposals on settling the situation with delivering Mistral helicopter carriers, Rosoboronexport deputy head Igor Sevastyanov told TASS on Wednesday.

"It is too early to talks about any concrete results," Sevastyanov, who heads the arms exporter’s delegation at the International Maritime Defense Show, said, refusing to provide any further details.

The €1.12-billion contract to build the Mistral amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011. In case it is not implemented, France will have to pay Russia a penalty fee.

The first Mistral, the Vladivostok, was floated in October 2013. It was expected to be handed over to Russia by the French side in autumn 2014, but the handover did not take place due to the situation in Ukraine. The second Mistral, the Sevastopol, was to be delivered to Russia in October 2015, but the deal was suspended as well.

France suspended the delivery of Mistrals to Russia as part of a package of sanctions the European countries imposed on Moscow for what they claimed was its alleged role in destabilisation of east Ukraine. Russia has constantly dismissed allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin said on May 9 that France can’t make decisions on the sale of Mistral helicopter carriers without Russia’s consent as the Russian Federation has the end user certificate.

Previous reports suggested that the French side was ready to pay compensation to Russia if the helicopter carriers are not delivered. Moscow has repeatedly said that it wold be satisfied with any variant - either the ships or money. In early June, Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said that he hoped that the situation with the Mistral warships would be resolved during the summer. Russia wants to have all expenses related to production of the ships to be covered, he said.

In the middle of June, a high-ranking official from the military and defense sphere told TASS that Russia still does not rules out the possibility that Mistral helicopter carriers will be delivered.

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