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No sanctions initiated against France over disrupted Mistral delivery — Russian official

March 17, 2015, 11:45 UTC+3
Any civilized outcome of the situation with the Mistral contract will suit Russia
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© EPA/Marcus Brandt

LANGKAWI (Malaysia), March 17. /TASS/. Russia has not yet initiated any sanctions against France over the disrupted delivery of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said on Tuesday.

"We are taking no measures yet. No sanctions: financially or judicially, we have initiated nothing. We are waiting very quietly and adequately," Alexander Fomin said.

The Mistral delivery was disrupted in late November last year, he said. "We hope that the French government will take an adequate decision," the head of the service said.

The €1.12-billion contract for building two Mistral class ships for the Russian Navy was concluded in June 2011. The first ship, the Vladivostok, launched in October 2013, was to be delivered to Russia back in November 2014. At the last moment Paris suspended the handover indefinitely saying the crisis in Ukraine was the reason. The Vladivostok has since remained moored in Saint-Nazaire.

It was originally planned that the second vessel, the Sevastopol, was to be handed over to the Russian side in the second half of 2015. However, like in the case with the first ship, the decision on its supply has been yet frozen.

France assumes responsibility for refusal to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers

The decision not to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia was France’s sovereign decision, and Paris is ready to take on responsibility for that step, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week.

"In November last year, President (Francois) Hollande decided that the situation in eastern Ukraine made it impossible for France to deliver this ship to Russia. Our stance has remained unchanged since then," Valls said in an interview with the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

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

Previous reports said that Russia was waiting for an official statement from the French government on the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers. According to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov, Russia is ready to accept any outcome. Russia will find an application to the Mistral ships if they are ultimately delivered under the contract; the non-delivery of Mistrals to Russia, on the other hand, will not decrease the combat potential of the Russian Navy.

"Any civilized outcome out of this situation will suit us," Borisov said. Under the current circumstances when the situation with the Mistral helicopter carriers is in suspension, the Russian Defense Ministry is particularly concerned with France’s return of an advance payment worth about €1 billion.

According to Borisov, the procedure of termination of the contract under the force major circumstances is provided in the inter-governmental agreement. However, Russia needs an official statement from the French side on its refusal to deliver the Mistral helicopter carriers in order to start actions to annul the contract.

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