Russia Sends France Formal Inquiry on Non-Delivery of Mistral Warship
Russia cannot accept oral explanations from individual French politicians of why the warship was not delivered on time, even if that politician is the country’s president, a senior Defense Ministry official states.
MOSCOW, January 13 (Sputnik) – Moscow has sent Paris an official inquiry for an explanation of why a Mistral helicopter carrier was not delivered to Russia according to an earlier signed agreement, a high-ranking official from the Russian Defense Ministry’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said Tuesday.
“The FSMTC has sent an inquiry to the DGA [Direction Generale de l’Armement] in order to receive an official response to the issue,” the official told RIA Novosti.
The official said that Russia could not accept oral explanations from individual French politicians of why the warship was not delivered on time, even if that politician is the country’s president.
“In order to take further actions, turning to the court or giving France more time [to comply], Russia needs to have a written explanation of the situation,” the official said.
According to the terms of the $1.5-billion contract signed in June 2011, the Russian Navy was due to receive the first of the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, the Vladivostok, from Paris by November 14. However, French President Francois Hollande put the transfer on hold, citing Russia’s alleged role in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.
Moscow has repeatedly denied its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and warned Paris that it would face large penalties should it fail to deliver on its contractual obligations.
In early January, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France would deliver the Mistral ships to Russia when a respected ceasefire and a political road map for the permanent settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine were achieved.An armed conflict in Ukraine erupted in April 2014, when Kiev launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions who refused to recognize the new central government that was brought to power following a coup in February.
The ceasefire deal between the warring parties in Ukraine’s Donbas region was reached during Minsk talks in September 2014. However, both Kiev and independence supporters in the country’s east have claimed numerous violations of the ceasefireregime, accusing each other of breaking the truce.