France has postponed the delivery of the first Mistral type helicopter carrier to Russia yet again. French President Francois Hollande decided to suspend the transfer of the vessel due to the situation in Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports with reference to the Elysee Palace.
"The President of the Republic believes that the current situation in the east of Ukraine still does not allow the delivery of the first Mistral to Russia. In this regard, he felt it necessary to postpone the issue on the permission to hand over the first Mistral to Russia," a message from the press service of the French president said.
The first Mistral amphibious assault ship, "Vladivostok", was to be handed over to the Russian Navy on November 14. The United States is vehemently opposed to the delivery of the ship to Russia. Paris, in its turn, has repeatedly stated that France is obliged to execute the contract with Russia.
Vadim Gorshenin, the Chairman of Pravda.Ru Board of Directors, wrote on his Facebook page on November 20 that France would rather break the contract, rather than disappoint its American partner:
"France has made a very bold decision on the Mistral, given the impact of this decision on economy and other aspects. If I understand it correctly, the States has finally won the fight in convincing the French not to deliver Mistral to Russia. All seemed to be fine, as Russia would receive its money back plus penalties from France. However, Kerry wanted more. He wanted to set the French up to make them look like dishonest partners and publicly point out the fact that they are Washington's bootlickers. De Gaulle must be turning over in his grave because of the humiliation of the country that he used to lead... "
Russia will act strictly according to the contract against the backdrop of the current situation. Russia will sue France, if the latter fails to execute contractual obligations, Deputy Defense Minister of Russia Yuri Borisov said, TASS reports. The official also said that Moscow would seek penalties from the French side.
The head of the Committee for CIS Affairs of the State Duma, Leonid Slutsky, said that if Russia filed a lawsuit against France at the Stockholm Court of Arbitration in connection with the decision on the Mistral ships, Russia would win the action immediately, RIA Novosti reports.
In the morning of November 24, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that "the conditions for the delivery have not been met for obvious reasons." According to him, "it is enough to look at what is happening now in Ukraine."
Later, on the website of the Elysee Palace, a statement from the Presidential Administration of France was published. In the statement, it was said that the head of the French Republic decided to suspend the delivery of the ship until further notice, in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
French President Francois Hollande, who decided to postpone the delivery of Mistral to Russia, is trying to find a balance between obligations to Russia, EU partners and NATO. If it were only up to him to make the decision, the ship would be handed over to Russia a long time ago, the chairman of the International Committee of the State Duma Alexey Pushkov believes.
"France is trying to find balance between its obligations to Russia, the EU and NATO. Should France decide not to deliver the ships to Russia, it will demonstrate its dependent position. Naturally, it will cause a lot of damage to the French on the world arms market..In my opinion, if the decision depended on Hollande, Mistrals would be delivered," Pushkov told reporters.
The MP said that the president of France remains in the coordinate system of the European Union, and he must show solidarity. The USA's pressure also plays its role.
"He took Solomon's decision: when there is no solution, one should postpone it," said Pushkov.
According to the MP, France is unwilling to get completely integrated into the anti-Russian line. At the same time, the country does not want to quarrel with its allies either.
"I do not think that we are interested in aggravating relations with the French government. They do not deny, but postpone the delivery. I believe that we are ready to wait for some time too," he said.
Meanwhile, member of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, Vladimir Bessonov, stated that Russia should ban imports of French wine to Russia in response to France's decision to suspend the execution of Mistral contract. "Let's ban the sales of French wine in Russia. Even a discussion of that may lead to desired results," he told the Russian News Service.
The MP said that it was Russia's mistake to buy the vessels from a NATO member. "One can not buy food products, let alone arms, from NATO countries. This is the greatest folly, if not sabotage. To crown it all, Russian helicopters will not be able to land on those vessels," he said.