Paris and Moscow have terminated the contact for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, but repayment remains unresolved.
Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion at the current exchange rate) agreement for the purchase of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in 2011.
In November 2014, Paris suspended the contract, citing Moscow's alleged participation in the Ukrainian conflict as the reason behind the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.
All the equipment has to be dismantled and returned by November 22, a source said.
A Russian team has begun to dismantle telecommunications and control systems from the Mistral helicopter carriers docked at a shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, a French daily reported. The process is expected to last until October.
Moscow assumes that Paris will take its interests into account while choosing the potential buyer of the two French Mistral-class helicopter carriers, originally built for Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.
Moscow plans to offer Kamov Ka-52K helicopters to a country interested in purchasing the two Mistral warships which France originally built for the Russian Navy, the Kommersant newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.
Under the terms of the contract, Russia has the right to not agree with the resale of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers or delay approval for any period of time due to the fact that the contract does not identify any deadline.
Paris has already transferred more than 1 billion euro ($1.12 billion) to Moscow, in compensation for the termination of the contract on the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, a governmental source told journalists Monday.
According to a high-ranking source, France has returned Russia all the money for the Mistrals.
Speculation swelled surrounding potential buyers for the orphaned carriers following an announcement that Paris and Moscow had reached an agreement to terminate the contract.
According to a French government spokesman, the compensation for terminating the Mistral contract with Russia is under one billion euros.
During his Malaysian trip, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will discuss the possibility of delivering to Malaysia the two Mistral-class warships initially built for Russia, the French newspaper Tribune reported.
Saudi Arabia has been on a course to boost its military capabilities focusing lately on its naval forces and the possible purchase of the two Mistrals originally built for Russia by France could be central to these efforts.
France is starting a “summer sale” for its Mistrals, French journalist Jacques Martinez wrote for Boulevard Voltaire.
French President Francois Hollande cancelled the contract for construction and delivery of two Mistral-class vessels to Russia over fears he would be criticized by EU leaders, a French lawmaker told Sputnik on Friday.
France has attempted to take advantage of the canceled Mistral deal with Russia by creating an artificial hype around potential buyers for the warships, a Russian think tank spokesperson specializing in weapon sales said on Friday.
The next episode in the Mistral saga could begin in the near future: Egypt and Saudi Arabia are rumored to be contemplating the purchase of the two helicopter carriers built for the Russian Navy after Moscow and Paris officially terminated the deal, Le Monde reported, citing an unnamed source.
The de-customization of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers that France failed to deliver to Russia will be an expensive process, the French daily Les Echos said.
France is reported to have offered Russia a compensation for the non-delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers, amounting to less than one billion euros ($1.1 billion), local media said.
By terminating the Mistral deal with Russia, France closed the door on a golden opportunity to establish strategic and trade partnership with Russia, said Philippe Migault, a senior research fellow at the French Institute of International and Strategic Relations (L’Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques – IRIS).
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande made a joint decision to terminate the 1.2-billion euro ($1.32 billion) Mistral contract signed in June 2011.
French President Francois Holland’s final decision not to deliver Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia will harm Paris’ relations with Moscow, Member of the European Parliament Aymeric Chauprade said Thursday.
French lawmakers have strongly criticized the decision by President Francois Hollande to terminate the contract on the construction and delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia.