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Minister says Russia got no Mistral technology from France

June 18, 2015, 17:49 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
A number of media reports said previously that Russia received from France the technology for the construction of the Mistral class helicopter carrying warships
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©  AP Photo/David Vincent

ST. PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. Russia has not received the technology for the Mistral class helicopter carriers’ construction from France, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told journalists on Thursday.

"What technology we have received? - none as of today," he said, adding that "we already had the hull modular design technology, we just had no orders, and we supplied the stern section and the fore-body."

A number of media reports said previously that Russia received from France the technology for the construction of the Mistral class helicopter carrying warships.

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 too.

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. "Money or ships," Kozhin said. "Money means money. We do not lose a lot if we don’t get these ships."

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

On May 15, Russia’s Kommersant business daily reported with reference to "sources in the sphere of military-technical cooperation" that France has drafted and sent Moscow proposals on termination of a French-Russian agreement on construction of Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia.

These proposals "imply that about €785 million will be returned to Russia, which the country will only be able to obtain after its government issues a written permission to sell the vessels to any third party without any reservations," the newspaper said.

It said "Moscow does not agree with such an approach," assesses its "expenditures and losses in connection with the broken contract at €1.163 billion and does not intend to issue any permits for re-export until the money is returned."

"The option with the return of the sum mentioned in the French proposal does not suit us at all, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin already informed French Defense and National Security Secretary General Louis Gautier, authorized to hold talks on their part, of that. They are now preparing their arguments," a source said.

According to assessments of the French weekly Le Point, annulment of the deal to supply Mistrals to Russia may cost France from €2 billion to €5 billion.

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