The reputation of Paris as a reliable partner has been called into question for Russia after the French refused to supply the first Mistral helicopter carrier, officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “The reputation of France as a reliable partner that respects contractual obligations has been thrown into the furnace of American political ambitions. Where are the days when Paris would not succumb to US pressure, for example, on the Iraqi issue?” deputy spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook Thursday.
On September 3, French President, Francois Hollande, announced the suspension of the delivery of the first helicopter Mistral to Russia. The decision was made after Hollande’s meeting with the French defense committee. In the course of the meeting, it was concluded that there were no sufficient conditions for the delivery of the first helicopter carrier to Russia. The same day, a source фе NATO said the alliance had no relation to the decision of the French president. “This is a sovereign decision of a member of our organization,” the source said.
According to the source, certain NATO allies expressed their thoughts to French officials about unsuitable time for the deliveries of such weapons to Russia, but the organization had not put any pressure on Paris.
The Russian side has not received any documents from the French side about a possible breach of contract for the supply of Mistral vessels, said Deputy Chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission under the Government of the Russian Federation, Oleg Bochkarev.
“The Russian side has not received any official documents about a possible non-delivery of Mistral. The work under this contract continues. Our people still work there, crew training continues. Russia remains in full compliance under this contract,” said Bochkarev.
He noted that after the statement from the French President to suspend the delivery of the first helicopter carrier to Russia, there was a duplicating reaction from the official structures of France, which means that France may not terminate the contract. “One needs to work quietly and wait until the situation changes. For the time being, the work on the contract remains on schedule. One has to give credit to Russian and French shipbuilders: they do a very good job. It is difficult for me to comment on political statements, but I am sure that the friendship of the Russian and French people will win,” Bochkarev said.
He also noted that the possible termination of the for the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers would not be critical for the Russian arms system. “The Mistral contract was a normal gesture of international military-technical cooperation, on which France strongly insisted. It was not our initiative. The French offered Russia to buy their helicopter carriers, and we took up the,” said Bochkarev.
Russia’s defense company Rosoboronexport and French company DCNS signed the contract for the construction of two helicopter carrying vessels Mistral in June 2011. France was supposed to deliver the first vessel to Russia, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of this year, reports Interfax.
Chairman of the Board of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sergei Karaganov, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the most recent decision of France came as a signal to French allies that put pressure on France.
“It is well known that Russia does not need need these Mistral ships. They were ordered as a political gesture of goodwill, which would strengthen the relations between France and Russia. Secondly, what Hollande said was about the period of 2-4 months, during which there can be no delivery made. He is maneuvering in front of his allies who put pressure on him. Thirdly, if France eventually refuses, then there is a strong suspicion that the French will have to pay a huge penalty. One has to take it easy. Life goes on,” the expert said.