15:27 GMT03 August 2020
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    While France is taking a hard anti-Russian stance due to the Ukrainian crisis, other European nations are busy signing new billion-dollar contracts with Russia, said Philippe Migault, a military expert from the French Institute of International and Strategic Affairs.

    Since French companies don’t have access to the two main global arms markets – the United States and China – they face fierce competition for markets in the Middle East and Asia. That is why voluntarily losing the Russian market, one of the most promising and emerging arms markets in the world, is a silly move on behalf of the French government, Migault told Sputnik France in an exclusive interview.

    “We risk regretting this very soon,” the military expert said.

    France had the opportunity to deliver two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia; however, Paris complied with Washington’s pressure and decided to cancel the $1.3 billion contract.

    France went against its own idea of economic patriotism, highly regarded during the current economic crisis, by abandoning the Mistral deal. Economic patriotism requires the support of exports and the protection of jobs, but France did the exact opposite by cancelling the arms deal with Russia, Migault said.

    The expert added that a number of French companies were interested in the Russian arms market. Some of them were in the process of negotiation, until Paris decided to stop all cooperation with Russia in the arms market. These contracts were for several times the amount of the failed Mistral deal, Migault told Sputnik.

    Meanwhile, earlier this week, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met Russian President Vladimir Putin this week; the two agreed to follow through with the 2014 agreement between Russia’s Rosneft and Italian helicopter manufacturer Finmeccanica on the delivery of 160 AW189 helicopters for a total price of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

    Migault hailed Renzi, who serves to protect the interests of Italian manufacturers regardless of what others in the EU say about it.


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