France is unlikely to commission the two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (Vladivostok and Sevastopol) to Russia but will instead look for international buyers after refunding Moscow for the cost of the ships.
India, China and Brazil have been cited as possible buyers for the two ships.
French President Francois Hollande on April 22 said that France would refund the money if the Mistral amphibious assault ships are not delivered to Russia.
"If the boats are not delivered, then I don't see how they could be paid for, among the various scenarios, there will either be reimbursement or payment.", Hollande told journalists during his meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“The French Navy is on a visit to Shanghai between May 9-15 and it may try to sell its Mistral-class assault ships to China,” the website quoted Duowei News as reporting.
According to PLA Navy’s official microblog, the French task force visiting China consists of two warships that include a Mistral class Dixmude assault ship and an Aconit, a La Fayette class frigate.
WantChinaTimes wrote that the French Navy would try to sell them (Mistral ships) to other potential buyers namely Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt or India.
China has plans of developing its own amphibious assault ship, but the country might purchase the ships as models to copy, the news daily reported.
Russia and France signed the €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) deal for the two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. While the first carrier, the Vladivostok, was expected in Russia until the end of November, but never arrived, the second ship, the Sevastopol, was supposed to arrive in 2015.
France put the delivery on hold, citing the situation in eastern Ukraine as the reason behind the decision.