Letter Offering Mistral Delivery Provides Legal Ammo To Russia

  • Our Bureau
  • 11:38 AM, November 4, 2014
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Letter Offering Mistral Delivery Provides Legal Ammo To Russia
Yves Destefanis, the project director responsible for delivering Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia

DCNS may have unwittingly given Russia cause to sue the French company over the non-delivery Mistral-class helicopter carrier after its Project Director wrote a letter inviting the Russian Navy to take delivery of the ship.


Yves Destefanis, the project director responsible for delivering Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia was sacked on Thursday after contents of  the letter became public.


The delivery of the helicopter carrier has been under dispute with France insisting that the delivery of the ships would be dependent on two conditions: an observed ceasefire in Ukraine and a political settlement of the conflict.


A statement issued by DCNS Monday, said, Destefanis has “caused damaging consequences” to the company and did not cite the failure to meet conditions of the hand over to Russia as an official reason for dismissal.


France is reportedly examining the sale contract particularly the force majeure clause that allows France to suspend and cancel the contract in the event of circumstances beyond its control such as an act of war or a natural calamity. However, in the light of Destefanis letter, Russia’s case may become strong in that it proves that the ship is ready for delivery and that  no event beyond its control has occurred to delay or cancel the delivery. 


Herve Guillou, CEO of DCNS relieved Destefanis of his duties after French Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced that conditions for the handover of the ship had not been met.


Russia is considering a bringing a lawsuit against France if Paris refuses to honor a contract on construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said in October.


"We will file a lawsuit and demand compensation [if the contract is not fulfilled], as it's commonly done in a civilized world," Ivanov said. "It's up to Paris to decide whether to honor the contract or not," he said. "We share long-running history of Russian-French relations, and we would not want to see these relations being sacrificed for the sake of fleeting [political] trends.”


Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion at the current exchange rate) deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, is expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to arrive in 2015.


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