Our Bureau
09:09 AM, May 27, 2015
Russia Does Not Want Mistral Warships, Only Refund
Oleg Bochkarev, Deputy Chairman, Russia's Military-Industrial Commission

Russia is no longer interested in procuring of the two French made Mistral-class helicopter carrier warships and its only concern is in getting a compensation of 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) for the violated contract.

Moscow has decided that there would be no further negotiations with France for the delivery of the ships.

"It's now a matter of fact that Russia is not taking them (the Mistral ships), and now there is only one discussion; the amount of money which should be returned to Russia," the deputy chairman of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, Oleg Bochkarev was quoted as saying by RBC news agency Tuesday.

France earlier this month had offered to refund about 785 million euros ($865 million) besides re-export rights for cancelling the Mistral amphibious assault ship deal with Russia but the latter has demanded 1.163 billion euros ($1.32 billion).

Various Russian media reported that Paris had handed its proposals to Russia on ‘ways’ to terminate the contract for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to the Russian Navy.

Moscow does not intend to issue a re-export permit before its full money is returned, the reports said. France and Russia had signed a $1.3 billion deal for the two ships and Russia has paid up $1.1 billion so far.

On April 22, French president Francois Hollande said Paris would return Moscow's payment for the warships if the contract is terminated. There were subsequent reports that Paris want to sell the disputed ships to China or India.

Russia ordered the ships from France in 2011, but Paris suspended the delivery of the helicopter-carrying assault ships in response to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Moscow had previously said it must either receive the ships, or compensation.

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