14:06 GMT28 July 2021
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    Former French President Giscard d’Estaing described the impasse over the sale of Mistral helicopter carrier ships to Russia as a “misunderstanding” and said the whole deal was now dead.

    “The ships were ordered by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and if all the terms had been properly detailed and guarantees stipulated the deal wouldn’t have fallen though,” Giscard d’Estaing said, commenting on the situation around the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia.

    Signed in 2011, the Mistral deal called for France to build and sell two helicopter carriers to Russia — the first of which was due for delivery by the end of 2014.

    But the French backed out of the transaction last fall after the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia over Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March 2014. Russia expects to either have the ships delivered or have its money back.

    It was earlier reported that France had offered to reimburse Russia its initial payment of around 785 million euros due to the deal’s cancellation. Russia disagrees, insisting on nearly 1.2 billion euros in compensatory payments.

    When asked about the current state of relations between the two countries, Giscard d’Estaing said they had suffered as a result of the EU-imposed sanctions against Russia.

    “But the violence in Ukraine must stop. There are agreements, the Minsk accords, which must be honored. If they are, then there is no reason to keep these sanctions in place any further,” he emphasized.

    “Surprisingly enough, these sanctions are more negatively impacting Russia’s relations with Europe than they do its ties with the United States… Russia’s trade turnover with the US went up this year, but with Europe it actually took a turn down,” the former French leader noted.

    Commenting on his one-on-one meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Giscard d’Estaing said it had been “long, fascinating and open-hearted” and touched upon, among other things, the situation in Ukraine.


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    France, deal, cancellation, Mistral, Russian Navy, Giscard d'Estaing
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