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Mistral Saga
July 31, 2015 23:24

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The Kremlin says the talks over the future of the Mistral helicopter carrier are over.
A source tells the Kommersant daily that France would return 1.163 billion euro.
The very same day French President Francois Hollande denies these reports.
So who should we trust?
The contract is expected to be signed soon, according to Vladimir Kozhin, presidential aide on military and technical cooperation. Once the deal is inked, the amount of the fine will be made public.
Earlier, Russia warned France it would face fines if the Mistral helicopter carrier is not handed over. The news came after France put the handover on hold, citing lack of progress on the ground in Ukraine.
Russia agreed to wait until the end of November. But that deadline was missed, just like every other deadline that followed.
In case the delivery doesn’t take place by the beginning of the winter, a provision outlined in the contract, Russia insisted it would seek damages in court. But then the Kremlin told journalists Russia would forgive its disloyal French counterparts but be cautious when dealing with it next time.
Russian experts and officials estimate the losses at around 3 billion euros.
The deal for two Mistral ships worth 1.2 bn euros was signed in June 2011. The helicopter carriers were expected to enter service with the Northern and the Pacific fleets in 2014 and 2015. It was planned to use the ships for the support of forces in the Kuril Islands.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
In the past, France repeatedly insisted it would stick to the contractual provisions despite numerous calls from the US and other allies to cancel the deal.
Maybe Mr Hollande was just scared after the US extended the list sanctioned individuals and legal entities on Thursday.

Author: Mikhail Vesely


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