MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – US lawmakers have sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, urging the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to buy the Mistral-class helicopter carriers France intends to sell to Russia, The Hill reports.
"Sensitive to the financial burden that France may incur should it rightly refuse to transfer these warships to Russia, we renew our call that NATO purchase or lease the warships as a common naval asset," the lawmakers wrote, as quoted by The Hill Thursday.
A similar letter was sent by US Congressmen to former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in May.
On Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that the conditions for delivery of French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia have not been met.
A high-ranking Russian defense industry source said earlier on Thursday that Moscow was ready to wait until the end of 2014 to finalize the transfer of the first Mistral ship.
Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion) deal for the delivery of two Mistral-class warships in June 2011. The first vessel, the Vladivostok, is expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to arrive in 2015.
The deal has been at risk since the West started imposing economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. French President Francois Hollande said in September that France could suspend the deliveries of the Mistral ships to Russia.