13:48 GMT25 February 2020
Listen Live
    Opinion
    Get short URL
    0 694
    Subscribe

    Commenting on the ongoing tussle over the Mistral deal, Russian businessman and journalist Dmitri Lekuh argued that Russia needed the technology the ships contained, not the ships themselves, adding that France's refusal to deliver the ships has served only to humiliate their own shipbuilding industry.

    In his Sunday blog post for the Russian informational portal Odnako, Lekuh commented that "It has never been a secret to anyone that Russia was never particularly interested in large floating hunks of metal. That is not to say that they were completely unnecessary. A good homeowner will find a place for any piece of iron, as the saying goes."

    "But the Russian Federation never really experienced a particularly urgent need for ships of this class, for the simplest and most boring of reasons: Russia's navy does not have any concrete strategic tasks for which this class of ship is vital. We never engaged in any colonial wars, and do not plan to do so in the foreseeable future, either. For addressing the demands of our naval doctrine's tasks of nuclear deterrence and operations in our own coastal waters we need ships of a different type, which we already have."

    Poll

    How do you think the notorious Mistral deal will end?
    • The ships are likely to be sold to a third party
      30.3% (688)
    • France will play dog in the manger and drown Russia's Mistrals
      14.9% (339)
    • France doesn't really have a choice; the ships must be delivered to Russia
      54.8% (1245)
    Voted: 2272
    According to Lekuh, what Russia really needed from the Mistral deal was the technology. This included the SENIT-9 combat information system, "military navigation systems and group battle management systems. We needed modern large vessel assembly technology, which we had earlier lost as a result of the turmoil our country experienced in the domestic economy during the 90s…Everything else, including the handsome ships being built in proud French docks, was seen as nothing more than a necessary burden."

    Lekuh argued that the French government has behaved in a manner which has humiliated its own weapons producers, noting that "in the interests of Uncle Sam…the French gave Russia all its interesting documentation for free. Now they will be forced to fight like lions about the size of the penalty which they will pay for the transfer, which has already given cause for Homeric laughter among all professional traders of weaponry and military equipment."

    "And we cannot exclude the possibility that having paid the penalty, the French government will have to spend more money taking apart or sinking the ships, until recently considered the pride of French shipbuilders, all in public view," Lekuh noted.

    End Of The Road?
    © Sputnik / Vitaly Podvitski
    In 2011, Russia and France signed a $1.5 billion deal for two French Mistral-class helicopter carriers. France put the delivery of the ships on hold in November 2014, citing Russia's alleged interference in the Ukrainian crisis. For its part, Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, and urged Paris to deliver on its contractual obligations.

    On Friday, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Paris had proposed to pay Moscow 785 million euros ($865 million), on condition that Russia allowed France to sell the ships to a third party.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Related:

    Compensation for Failed Mistral Deal Should Be Decided by Experts
    Kremlin Sees No Problems in Mistral Contract – Spokesman
    Results of Consultations Between Russia, France on Mistral Expected by June
    Tags:
    France, arms deal, deal, ship, shipbuilding, Mistral, Russian Navy, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via SputnikComment via Facebook