16:48 GMT01 March 2021
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    Deal Cancelled: What Will Paris Do With Russia's Mistrals? (57)
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    The French parliament’s vote on the Mistral refund deal was a slap in the face of the heroes of the Normandie-Niemen fighter regiment, who fought alongside Soviet airmen during WW II, a French MP said on Thursday.

    “There were eight of us, patriots, who voted against [the government’s decision not to hand the Mistrals over to Russia] and thirteen who voted for it,” National Assembly deputy Nicolas Duic said during a Franco-Russia friendship roundtable in Paris.

    “We remember the May 9 ceremony on Red Square and I think that the heroes of Normandie-Niemen are rolling in their graves after this vote,” he added.

    “The Mistrals are good ships and I would prefer to see Russian sailors drinking champagne there and not, say, Saudis, even though I have nothing against the Saudis,” Nicolas Duic said.

    On Thursday French MPs backed a multi-million-dollar agreement with Russia over the axed sale of two warships.

    Under the deal, France will reimburse some €949.7 million to Russia over the termination of a €1.2-billion contract for the sale of two French Mistral helicopter carriers.

    The National Assembly – France's lower house – adopted the measure by 13 votes to 8, rubber-stamping an agreement signed on August 5 between France and Russia after eight months of intense negotiations.

    Under the agreement, Paris announced payment to Moscow of an amount slightly lower than €1 billion, which corresponds to advances paid by Russia to purchase the two French vessels.
    France will have full ownership and free disposal of the Russian equipment already installed on the ships.

    The contract between Russia and France to deliver two Mistral helicopter carriers was signed between the French company DCNS and Russia's Rosoboronexport in 2011.

    Deal Cancelled: What Will Paris Do With Russia's Mistrals? (57)


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