Kremlin says Russia, France agree on Mistral refunding issue

France accepts to reimburse Russia about Mistral helicopter carriers which were not delivered due to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow following annexation of Crimea and Ukraine’s separatist war

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The Kremlin sources said on Thursday that Russia and France have agreed on the terms of refunding of the undelivered two Mistral warships which were ordered by Moscow in 2011, but suspended by Paris at the end of last year upon the growing tension between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian civil war.

"The talks have been completed, everything is settled- the schedule and the amount, which Paris will repay to Moscow," Vladimir Kozhin, President Vladimir Putin's aide on military-technical cooperation, told Russian RIA Novosti agency.

Kozhin stated that the parties have finished mutual talks regarding how much France will pay for the failure of two Mistral helicopter carriers’ deliveries, but he did not give detailed figures on the amount of money that Russia entails France on the issue.

"I hope that an agreement on the termination of the contract will be signed very soon, and we will be able to announce the sum that France will pay us," Kozhin added.

Russia and France had signed the contract of two Mistrals’- named Vladivostok and Sevastopol - purchase worth to nearly 1.2 billion euros which makes the deal to be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia.  

Since the contract was suspended in November, Russia has been pressuring over France to make repayments or deliver the warships as quickly as possible before the issue goes to international arbitrage court.

French President Francois Hollande has previously said that Paris would return Moscow's repayment for the Mistrals should the contract be terminated.

"As far as the Mistral is concerned I have set the terms. Either the Mistral is delivered, which is not our decision as of today, or a repayment will be made in the form we have discussed," Hollande had said at a news conference with Putin in April as the two leaders met in Yerevan, the Armenian capital.

Mistral warships are used to carry almost 900 troops, military equipments and vehicles such as up to 16 heavy-duty or 32 light helicopters and command vessels as well as armoured cars and amphibious assault boats.

France has recently made some lucrative bonanza contracts concerning sales of arms products such as Rafale fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and India which vivified the country’s huge military industrial complex amid the ongoing eurozone economic crisis.

French defence authorities have several times expressed their discontent with the failure of fulfillment of the contract with Russia and admitted that it costed a huge amount of loss of financial capital in French economy.

But the West has so far not changed its solid stance towards Russia which was allegedly meddling in eastern Ukraine where the separatist forces waged war against Kiev government in the wake of Crimea’s seizure by Moscow.

Since then, the US and the EU have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in the areas of finance, energy and security and prolonged due 2016.

TRTWorld and agencies