17:01 GMT04 March 2021
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    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)
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    The United States is sure to be alarmed by the circulating but as of yet unconfirmed rumors that China could be thinking about buying the two Mistral ships built in France for Russia, according to the Diplomat.

    Purchasing the assault ships makes sense, the news magazine noted. "China has both the use scenarios and the military infrastructure necessary to make effective use of the ships," the Diplomat said.

    Some say the United States could "pluck these ships off the market, lest China add two capable ships to its growing and increasingly modern navy," the media outlet added.

    Even if Beijing is interested in the purchase, the sale itself is not an easy feat. Firstly, members of the European Union are to a certain extent limited in their ability to sell weapons to China due to an arms embargo the EU imposed on Beijing in 1989.

    However, the ban is not strictly enforced and is open to interpretation. As a result, China enjoys limited access to European technologies and weapons, including aircraft, warships, ammunition, etc.

    But this is not the only impediment. France cannot sell the helicopter carriers to anyone without Russia's explicit permission and Paris has been repeatedly made aware of that. At least until both sides reach an agreement on the future of the $1.3 billion deal. At the moment it is still hanging in the balance.

    The Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok is seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire
    © REUTERS / Stephane Mahe
    The Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok is seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire

    No reason not to give Mistrals to Russia

    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
    Selling the two Mistral ships, the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol, to a third party is an option French authorities are considering, Gilles Le Breton, a member of the European Parliament from the National Front, told Sputnik. But there is no reason not to hand the Mistrals over to Russia.

    The deliveries were put on hold in late 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied these groundless claims and pushed for peace in the war-torn nation.

    Ukraine should not have been used as a pretext not to deliver Mistrals, Le Breton said.

    The Sevastopol amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.
    © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
    The Sevastopol amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.

    Moreover, the failure to fulfil obligations under the contract turned into a serious image problem for France.

    "According to our defense industry, we hugely discredited ourselves in the eyes of future clients. Evidently, we failed to be true to our word. Should other countries want to buy a ship built at the Saint-Nazaire naval shipyard, they will think twice before signing a contract and might find another contractor," Gilles Le Breton explained.

    "I have talked to the workers at Saint-Nazaire. I assure you, they are very worried about their future," the politician concluded.

    Topic:
    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)

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    Sinking Mistrals Could Raise Social Tensions - French Politician
    Tags:
    France, assault ship, arms trade, helicopter carrier, Mistral, China, US, Russia
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