February 09, 2015 13:06
Successful Minsk meeting could result in Mistral carrier delivery to Russia - source (Part 2)
MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax-AVN) - Paris will have grounds to start the transfer of the Vladivostok Mistral-class helicopter carrier build by the STX France shipyard to Russia if a meeting between the leaders of Germany, Ukraine, Russia and France scheduled for February 11 in Minsk is a success, a military diplomat told Interfax-AVN on Monday.
"If the Minsk talks really help ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, then Paris will be free to transfer the Vladivostok ship to the Russian Navy rapidly," he said.
By doing so, Paris will achieve two goals: its face will be saved in the eyes of its allies and its reputation as a credible supplier will be confirmed, the source said.
"Both are important for France. In fact, France is interested in the soonest transfer of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier it has built and tested for Russia because it is incurring sizable expenditures to maintain the serviceability of this ship, which has been anchored in the Saint Nazaire through all these months," he said.
Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships. The contract value stands at 1.2 billion euro.
French President Francois Hollande said he had decided to postpone the Vladivostok's delivery to Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Russia has said that it expects to receive either the ships or a refund.
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