Friday, September 5, 2014

Hollande Threatens: Ceasefire Should Be Reached In Ukraine For France to Deliver Mistral to Russia

French President Francois Hollande set terms for Mistral delivery to Russia, saying that his conditions were a ceasefire and a political settlement in Ukraine, Reuters reported Thursday. «What are the conditions? A ceasefire and a political settlement… Today these conditions are not in place,” Hollande said as quoted by Reuters. On the sidelines of a NATO summit currently held in Wales, Hollande told reporters that the contract for two Mistral-class helicopters carriers was neither cancelled, nor suspended, but mentioned that the above conditions must be met in order for the ships to be delivered to Russia. 

Recently, France has come under strong pressure from the United States and its European partners to suspend the deal. Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, was expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, was supposed to arrive in 2015. However, the completion of the deal has been at risk since Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it is not involved in the Ukrainian crisis, referred to the language of sanctions “counterproductive,” and said that such measures “threaten international peace and stability.”

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