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France pays Russia over €1 billion compensation for Mistral — Russian government source

August 31, 2015, 15:20 UTC+3
France will be able to dispose of the Mistral class helicopter carriers only after the Russian equipment is dismantled entirely from the ships, the source said
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© AP Photo/Joseph Nair

MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. The overall compensation sum that France has paid Russia for cancelling the contract for the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers has exceeded 1 billion euros, a source in the Russian government has said.

"Taking into account that we have received 65 million euros for the afterbody of [Mistrals] the total sum of payment by France has reached more than 1 billion euros," the source told reporters.

In total, Russia paid 893 million euros in advance, he said, adding that "so we paid for the whole first ship and a half of the second one."

"After the talks, we managed to ensure that they pay for collateral losses and expenses, including business trips, training and the creation of infrastructure in the Far East for these vessels," the source said.

Last week, French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said France’s compensations to Russia for the non-delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers would amount to less than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Decision of French Senate on Mistral warships bears on risks for Russia

The decision of the French Senate, which is due to consider the issue of ratification of the Mistral agreement on September 14, bears no risks for Russia, since the money has already been transferred within the framework of the agreements with the French government on the termination of the deal, the source said.

"The French Senate is due to consider on September 14 the ratification of this agreement [on the termination of the Mistral agreement - TASS]. Since the money is already in Russia, the results of this consideration bear no risks for Russia," he said.

France will be able to dispose of the Mistral class helicopter carriers that have been built but not supplied to Russia, only after the Russian equipment is dismantled entirely from the ships - no earlier than late autumn, informed Russian government source added.

"The French will actually get them no later than in late autumn," he said.

France has to agree Mistral helicopter carrier buyer with Russia 

France has to agree a prospective buyer for Mistral helicopter carriers with Russia, with no time limits set for such approval, the source said.

"Russia must approve a prospective buyer while no time limits for this approval are set," the source said.

The media has already named a whole number of prospective buyers for the Mistral helicopter carriers, including Egypt and Malaysia.

The 1.12 billion-euro 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.

In the summer of 2015 it became known that Russia and France had come to an agreement on the fate of the Mistral helicopter carriers. Under the agreement, Russia gets back the money and equipment, after which France will be able to use the vessels at its own discretion.

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