Ukraine ‘Very Disappointed’ France Proceeding With Russian Mistral Deal

July 24, 2014 4:09 PM
An artist's rendering of the future Russian Navy amphibious warship Vladivostok. DCNS Photo
An artist’s rendering of the future Russian Navy amphibious warship Vladivostok. DCNS Photo

Ukrainian president has joined the U.S. in opposing France sale of two amphibious warships to the Russian Navy in remarks to European legislators on Thursday.

Petro Poroshenko told a group of European parliament deputies he was “very disappointed” the $1.53 billion two-ship deal was still on following the downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by what’s believed to be Ukrainian separatists using Russian supplied anti-aircraft weapons, reported by Agence France-Presse.

“It’s not a question of money, industry or jobs. It’s a question of values,” Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko’s comments follow Monday’s confirmation from French president Francois Hollande that at least the first ship would deliver to Russia and delivery of the second would, “depend on Russia’s attitude.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. voiced its opposition to the sale any of the amphibious ships.
“We don’t think anyone should be providing arms to Russia,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a news conference.
“We obviously don’t think the Mistral should go ahead.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also voiced opposition to the plan.

“We’ve seen ample evidence that the Russians are flouting international norms, supporting efforts to violate the territorial integrity of independent sovereign nations,” he said on Tuesday.
“It seems like a suboptimal time, if you will, to be transferring advanced military systems to them.”

Following the shoot down of Flight 17, more in Europe are calling for stepped up Russian sanctions, including a British proposal for a total arms embargo.

However, the timing for France is awkward.

Late last month, 400 Russian sailors arrived in France for training on the amphibious warship Vladivostok — expected to deliver later this year.

The second ship — Sevastopol — is slated to join the Russian fleet in 2015.

The 21,000-ton ships can field 20 helicopters and has a well deck to deploy landing craft. The ship can carry up to 450 troops for extended journeys and 900 for short trips.

Russia plans to homeport the ships at its naval base in Vladivostok.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox