MOSCOW, September 2. /TASS/. Moscow proceeds from the assumption that its interests will be taken into account by France during the transfer of the Mistral class helicopter carriers to a third party, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
Answering a TASS question about the possibility of the Mistrals delivery to a third country, Peskov said that the two countries’ presidents reached an agreement in August that "finalised mutual understanding on the issue of the Mistral ships." He also repeated the Kremlin’s statement, saying that "the French side has fully paid the due sums; the Russian and French sides consider the Mistral issue closed, settled."
"In addition, we have emphasized that the Russian side’s interests will be taken into account during the transfer of the Mistrals to a third party," Peskov told reporters, referring to the parameters of the Russian-French agreements on the Mistral supply contract termination.
"As far as I understand, nobody has specified which third party was meant," Peskov told TASS. "Therefore, there is no meaningful talk," he said.
"As has been repeatedly stressed, we assume that Russian interests will be taken into account," the spokesman said.
Media reports have already named a whole number of prospective buyers for the Mistral helicopter carriers, including Egypt and Malaysia.
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.
News came in the summer of 2015 that Russia and France had agreed on the fate of the two Mistral helicopter carriers.