07:02 GMT04 April 2020
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    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)

    The West framed the $1.3 billion deal between France and Russia for the delivery of two Mistral warships as Moscow's attempt to build up its military power while many experts see the contract as a move primarily aimed at fostering closer ties with Paris, Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) reported.

    Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, who heads State Duma's Defense Committee, told RIA Novosti that the Mistral purchase was purely political and Russia "did not really need" the helicopter carriers.

    "Our ships are better armed and the Mistral-class watercraft could have only been used in the Far East, which offers open access to the ocean, for instance in the area around the Kuril Islands," said the former commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

    Many analysts, according to the ERR, point out that Russia needs to strengthen its Pacific Fleet, meaning Moscow did not buy the Mistrals to threaten NATO.

    Russia's largest military contract since the end of the Cold War was terminated last week after months-long negotiations. France has already transferred some 1.2 billion euros ($1.34 billion) to Moscow and could pay as much as 2.4 billion euros ($2.67 billion) in total for the Mistral fiasco, according to the Le Canard Enchaine weekly.

    Vadim Kozyulin, a military expert at the Moscow-based PIR Center think tank, described the breaking of the Mistral deal as "a real relief for the Russian defense budget and for the Russian Navy" in an interview with the Moscow Times.

    Russia has repeatedly said that it has the required technology and capabilities to build its own amphibious assault ships. Russian companies and design bureaus have already unveiled several possible replacements for the Mistrals.

    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)


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    France, diplomacy, politics, Mistral, Russia
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