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France Loses Strategic Trade Partner in Russia Due to Failed Mistral Deal

© Sputnik / Alexei DanichevMistral Helicopter Carrier
Mistral Helicopter Carrier - Sputnik International
By terminating the Mistral deal with Russia, France closed the door on a golden opportunity to establish strategic and trade partnership with Russia, said Philippe Migault, a senior research fellow at the French Institute of International and Strategic Relations (L’Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques – IRIS).

The $1.3 billion deal was officially terminated on Wednesday. Paris is reported to have already transferred some 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to a Russian bank as a compensation for the non-delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

"We [France] managed to close the door on the entire Russian defense market, potential Eldorado, and all in order to please US and European "allies." Due to the cancellation of the Mistral contract, a strategic partnership with Russia collapsed," Migault said.

Safran S.A. and Thales Group, two leading French multinational companies that specialize in aerospace, defense, transport and security, have already reduced their presence in Russia.

The Sevastopol amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire. - Sputnik International
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DCNS, the company that built the Mistrals, was hoping to receive new offers from Russia after it delivered these two ships. Now, the opportunity is lost. Other, smaller French companies that were also in the process of negotiating lucrative contracts with the Russian defense industry were forced to leave the country, the expert said.

"And all of this for what?" — Migault asked. "Are we seeing the Scandinavian or the Baltic countries, Poland or Canada competing with each other to buy all the materials that weren't sold to Russia? Of course, not."

By lacking courage to show its independence, France has not only lost its reputation and pride, but also tossed out of the window a golden opportunity to secure itself as Russia's main strategic and trade partner, especially during times when French economy can afford it the least. The special relationship that existed between France and Russia is now in history, Migault concluded.

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