PARIS, September 01. /ITAR-TASS/. France’s position on the supplies of Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia’s Navy remains unchanged, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said on Monday.
French President Francois Hollande told Le Monde on August 20 that the sanctions against Russia did not prevent the Mistral supplies. “The EU countries and not France made such decision,” Nadal said.
The French president also said, “If tensions increase and if there is no chance to find a solution, we will have to make a choice.”
Under the contract, Russia is to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in October-November this year. The second Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Sevastopol, is expected to be handed over to Russia by the end of the next year.
The Mistral issue was in the focus of attention in late July when the United States started to exert strong pressure on France, urging it to give up the Mistral warship deliveries to Russia amid persisting differences between Washington and Moscow over developments in southeast Ukraine.
However, Hollande said that France would fulfill its obligations for the construction of the first Mistral-type warship and would hand it over to Russia on time.
Hollande said that work on the second Mistral warship would depend on Moscow’s stance on the Ukraine crisis.
The €1.12 billion contract for building two Mistral-type ships was signed by the Russian defense exporting company Rosoboronexport and French DCNS in June 2011.
The Mistral-type helicopter carriers have a displacement of 21 tons, the maximum body length of 210 meters, the speed of 18 knots and the range of up to 20,000 miles.
The crew is 170 members, and in addition it can take on board 450 people. Each ship is capable of carrying a fleet of 16 helicopters. Six of them can be simultaneously deployed on the flight-deck. The cargo deck can accommodate more than 40 tanks or 70 motorized vehicles.
Mistral landing helicopter carriers are capable of performing four tasks at the same time: receive helicopters, land troops, and act as a command post and a floating hospital.