Russia can do without French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers whose delivery has been suspended over Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov TV programme, according to Itar-Tass.
“Last year, on November 16 we transferred to our Indian colleagues the Vikramaditya light aircraft carrier, which war formerly our Admiral Gorshkov missile cruiser. Thus, having implemented that contract and earning big money, we proved inside Russia and showed to the country’s leadership that Russia can now assemble ships of that kind,” Rogozin was quoted as saying.
“As for a landing ship - it has a much simpler design. Of course we can do this,” the deputy prime minister said.
According to the report, he also said that statements from France that a contract could be cancelled with the ships turned over to somebody else, were unlawful as one third of that ship was Russian-made. “The stern section of Mistral was made at Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. That is why if they want to keep the ship, we will have to tear away its stern section and get it back to use it in other ships,” Rogozin said.
“For the same reason, it is impossible to transfer this half-of-the-ship to anybody else,” he added. “Secondly, the money has been paid and it must be returned with penalties. Thirdly, it is not even money that France is risking, but its status of a reliable supplier in the World Trade Organisation,” Rogozin said.
Russia and France signed the 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) contract for two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. The first ship, named Vladivostok, was floated out in October 2013.
The Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, carrying some 200 Russian sailors left the French port of Saint-Nazaire to pass a series of tests last week, according to Ria Novosti. The testing marks the ship goes to sea since its arrival to Saint-Nazaire in June.
French President Francois Hollande suspended the delivery of the two helicopter carriers to Russia in early September because of the events in eastern Ukraine and said that the final delivery on the Mistral contract will be made in late October, the report added.