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    'Historic Mistake': Mistral Non-Delivery Runs Counter to France's Interests

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    Deal Cancelled: What Will Paris Do With Russia's Mistrals? (57)
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    The decision not to transfer two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships built for the Russian Navy amounts to a "historic mistake" and goes against the political and industrial interests of France, politician Florian Philippot said, urging François Hollande to restore working relations with Moscow.

    Paris will have to pay approximately 1.2 billion euros for the non-delivery of the helicopter carriers but the real cost of terminating the deal will exceed the hefty compensation, the vice president of the right-wing National Front asserted.

    "The damage to the diplomacy, the industrial complex and business will be significantly higher," Philippot pointed out.

    The fate of the two Mistrals, dubbed Vladivostok and Sevastopol, remains in limbo. On Friday, Hollande dismissed earlier reports that Russia and France had reached an agreement on the settlement of the $1.36-billion deal. A day earlier, an aide to the Russian president announced that the matter had been settled.

    Philippot also criticized Hollande of carrying out an inconsistent foreign policy.

    "How can we justify selling weapons under billion-euro deals to Saudi Arabia that launched an outrageous military campaign in Yemen and is accused by the Humans Rights Watch of heinous war crimes?" the French politician asked.

    Philippot called Hollande's logic behind the French strategy towards Russia absurd. He urged the president to "restore working political and trade relations with Russia and to stop seeing France with the Americans' eyes."

    "Our farmers and our workers at shipbuilding yards do not have to pay for the major political mistakes of our leaders," the French politician noted.

    Sevastopol mistral warship is on its way for its first sea trials, on March 16, 2015 off Saint-Nazaire
    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
    Sevastopol mistral warship is on its way for its first sea trials, on March 16, 2015 off Saint-Nazaire

    In 2011, Russia and France inked a deal for the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, currently docked in the French naval shipyard of Saint-Nazaire and costing French taxpayers up to $5.5 million in maintenance per month.

    The deliveries were put on hold in late 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. The Kremlin has repeatedly said Russia is not a party to the deadly conflict and pushed for peace in the war-torn nation.

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

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    Tags:
    France, amphibious assault ship, arms deal, helicopter carrier, politics, Mistral, Florian Philippot, Francois Hollande, Russia
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