If the Mistral ships remain in France their upkeep and security alone will cost the French taxpayers a hefty 5 million euros a month. Add to this the need to pay back the 890 million euros Russia has already lined up for the vessels plus a delayed delivery fine and the final cost will be too high to ignore,
French defense columnist Jean-Dominique Merchet writes in his regular column in L’Opinion newspaper.
"We have absolutely no idea just how big this fine is going to be, but we believe it will be somewhere between 500 million euros and 5 billion,” Merchet warns.
Russia could also demand compensation for sending its seamen to Saint-Nazaire or the money it spent to get the Russian navy ready to take in the ordered Mistrals.