08:51 GMT +319 July 2019
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    Sevastopol mistral warship is on its way for its first sea trials, on March 16, 2015 off Saint-Nazaire

    ‘Amazing’ End-of-Summer Sales for French Mistrals Start Now

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

    France is starting a “summer sale” for its Mistrals, French journalist Jacques Martinez wrote for Boulevard Voltaire.

    Still with their Cyrillic writing and no equipment and electronics, the two Mistrals that France failed to deliver to Russia are expected to be sold off to potential buyers. What if a buyer sells them back to Russia for more profit, Martinez sarcastically asked readers?

    In reality the situation is far from being funny. French President Francois Hollande and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are trying to desperately sell the French public an idea that the Mistrals could be sold off to other countries. However, not a single country has made an official bid for the ships thus far.

    Experts agree that France won't be able to sell the Mistrals quickly. The only option Hollande has is to offer a massive discount price for the ships.

    "They will have to seriously cut their price to make it attractive to another country," IHS Jane's senior analyst on defense Ben Moores said.

    Apparently, China is interested in buying the Mistrals, although Beijing hasn't made a bid yet.

    "In case of China? Russian ally… Beijing can then cheaply sell the Mistrals back to Russia," Martinez was clearly having fun with the developing story.

    In any case, France has to hurry up with the new Mistral sales to avoid making the situation even worse than it is now. After its decision to cancel the deal, France refunded Russia over a billion euros. In addition, France will have to shell out at least another billion euros to de-customize the two Mistrals that were designed specifically for the Russian Navy. And finally, while the de-customization process and a search for a potential customer is taking place, France is losing at between €1 million and €5 million per month for docking and maintenance services while the ships are stationed at the port in Saint Nazaire. Quite a sum taken right out of French taxpayers' pockets!

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


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