Home » Budget Industry » Report: France to Keep Russian Mistrals In Planned $1.2 Billion Deal


Report: France to Keep Russian Mistrals In Planned $1.2 Billion Deal

Russian Mistral Vladivostok under construction on April 22, 2014. U.S. Naval Institute Combat Fleets of the World Photo

Russian Mistral Vladivostok under construction on April 22, 2014. U.S. Naval Institute Combat Fleets of the World Photo

France is set to pay Russia $1.2 billion to settle the lingering dispute over two amphibious warships in a deal that went sour over the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, according to French and Russian media reports.

The deal — yet to be official — would have France keep the two 21,000 ton amphibs and retain the right to sell the ships to a country of their choosing, reported Le Journal du Dimanche.

“Legally, this decision has not yet been formalized, but it is known that the Russian and French sides agreed within one month to determine the exact condition of cancellation of the contract for the supply of RF class ships Mistral, read a translation via the TASS Russian wire service.
Russia has already paid $811 million as part of the $1.5 billion 2011 deal for the Mistrals — modified to operate in Arctic conditions and accommodate Russia’s heavier helicopters — and will reportedly not seek additional penalties or legal action.

France will use proceeds from a planned $2 billion sale of Airbus EC 725 Caracal helicopters to Poland to fund the deal, reported the French paper.

France and Russia have a month to negotiate particulars before the agreement is settled.

The planned delivery schedule of the ships was halted following an announcement from French President François Hollande citing Russian involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as the reason.

The move from France is unexpected. European military defense experts had expected France to eventually deliver the ships to Russia once the situation in Eastern Ukraine had stabilized.

As for new buyers of the Mistrals, there are a few obvious candidates. NATO has expressed some interest in purchasing the ships to ferry its emerging rapid reaction force. The ships could also revive the Canadian Navy’s joint support ship concept that would create multi-purpose fleet oilers.

  • pat Neal

    We should modify the ships to assist in NATOs patrol of Canadian, Norwegian,Swedish, Finnish and american waters of the arctic on order to prevent further violations of our Territorials rights in the arctic by Vladimir Putin and his Russians.

    • Marjus Plaku

      Also they should keep the original names not only out of tradition but to REALLY screw with the Russians.

      • ersatzteil

        What territorial rights in the Arctic has Russia violated?

    • Dread Lock

      Stop posting propaganda

  • 2IDSGT

    Selling power-projection hardware like this to Russia was a stupid idea in the first place; the French should have known better.

    As for what should be done now… Since the ships are winterized, I’d like to see Canada buy one; the other should be purchased by some country with a Baltic coastline.

    • Rob C.

      Goes to show how desperate the defense industry is. This was ordered way before the troubles started. Perhaps Italy will purchase one of them, since their posed to build a LHD type ship anyways.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Why not the U.S., with it’s Alaskan coastline?

      • Secundius

        @ publius_maximus_III

        He already has set his Eye and Ambitions on trying to get Alaska back…

    • kiwirob

      No country with a Baltic Coastline needs one.

      • Secundius

        @ kiwirob.

        What about a Black Sea Coastline or Pacific Ocean Coastline…

        • kiwirob

          I don’t see that either. China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, US all have or are building their own. Turkey is also looking at building them, Ukraine can’t afford them. Canada takes decades to buy or buld anything so they’d be long out of service before they made a decision.

          • Secundius

            @ kiwirob.

            The Montreux Convention of 1936, covers against the passage in the Black Sea. By Aircraft Carriers, NOTHING about Assault Ship’s that can be USED AS Aircraft Carrier’s. I’m sure Putin has his reason for Two French Built Mistral class Gator-Freighters. Too be based in the Black Sea…

          • kiwirob

            The Soviets called them aircraft carrying cruisers to get around the treaty. The frst two weren’t going to be based in the Black Sea.

          • Secundius

            @ kiwirob.

            It’s doubtful that there going to be Home Based in the Baltic. Because of the General Disrepair of the Baltic Fleet Naval Bases…

          • kiwirob

            The Russians always planeed to base them in the Far East at Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

  • MW80

    In the margin, actual designation is H225M not EC725.

  • KazuakiShimazaki

    That may be the legal way out, but I think as far the Russians are concerned, the primary lesson they would receive is “The West CANNOT be trusted.”

    • Ctrot

      Or you can’t invade your neighbors without suffering some penalty.

      France should keep the ships AND the money.

      • Davo333

        But France wont be doing that, and Russia will be building its own ships now they have gained the necessary knowledge by building a third of the hulls of the two cancelled ships.

      • Romi

        Don’t remember penalties to US after invading Iraq…

        • Ctrot

          What UN Resolutions was Ukraine in violation of when Russia invaded?

    • Freethinking_Jeremy

      Doesn’t make a difference. Russian media/propaganda has been telling the Russian people that the West is the enemy and cannot be trusted for over ten years.

      It’s also been telling them that the West wants to colonize Russia (25% believe this), that the breakup of the Soviet Union was a mistake and hinting that Eastern Europe states are really Russian property stolen from Russia by the West.

      Edit: the 25% was from Russian media itself and not a trustworthy source but the fact that they would publish that supports my point whether or not it’s true.

      • ersatzteil

        You’re missing the fact that in the 1990’s Russia was colonized.

        • Freethinking_Jeremy

          Whoa, what kind of drugs are you on?

      • KazuakiShimazaki

        Actually, I remember a time when Russia actually made an effort to trust the West in the 90s. I’ve actually seen articles back in say 90s MilParade that seemed to consider co-operation in things like BALTOPS a positive thing.

        NATO expansion and also the results of so called economic “shock therapy” killed off a lot of that. And overall, as a person sitting way out on the sidelines, while I don’t think the West wants to “colonize” Russia, they do want Russia to become an American protectorate. And don’t laugh. By pre-WWII standards, most of the West ARE American protectorate that maintains only limited armed forces and don’t really try to stand up to America (even as the Americans for example spy on them with the NSA). The Russians don’t like this and I appreciate it.

        I also cannot help be struck by Western Russophobia versus a Sinophilia. Even though really if the West wants to keep its hegemony for at least a bit longer, they need to work on CHINA, nor RUSSIA. Can’t Westerners even count heads?

        • Secundius

          @ KazuakiShimazaki.

          Try telling that to the former Baltic States or Warsaw Pack Countries. If they’d rather under Russian Federation protection or NATO protection…

        • Freethinking_Jeremy

          1) What might have happened in the 90’s under different leadership does not mean what is happening today under Putin is magically something different. Putin’s policy is not pro-cooperation or even tit-for-tat. His strategy is strictly anti-West. Russia has been waging a one-sided cold war since he took office.

          2) There are plenty of legitimate reasons to hate the West or the US specifically, but none of them justify current Russian aggression. NATO’s past (and possible near future) expansion is largely Russia’s fault. The states put up with crap from the US because it’s less awful than being attacked by Russia. Also, protectorate is not the same as colony, and neither one is a plausible outcome for Russia except in the stories told by Russian propaganda.

          3) There’s no grand unified plan for perpetual hegemony. Biases are mostly based off recent experience. Russia colonized several European countries (actually colonization, not some metaphor or protectorate status) and fought proxy wars with the US (and even directly attacked other European countries) in recent memory. China did not. Thus, regardless of long-term strategy, Western countries fear Russia more than China.

          • KazuakiShimazaki

            I’ll actually argue that strategically, it is the West that’s taking an anti-Russian strategy with its NATO expansion or support for anti-Russian governmentts. (Generally this is disguised under the banner of “democracy” or “but they asked for help”, but ultimately this is what it is). Or how about that transparent lie that BMD is not anti-Russian.

            Regarding the latest spat, remember that the Russians refrained from touching Ukraine until the Ukrainians (mostly the Kievans) made the brain-dead move to oust poor Yakie (I still have a soft spot for him, not because he’s an angel or anything but because his idea that maybe we need to care about big country on their side is entirely correct – too bad the Kievans show poorer understanding of politics than a first-grader in school!)

            Even then, if the West had kept to its usual principles (such as resolving problems PEACEFULLY and LEGALLY) and condemned the Kiev government, then Yakie can come back, serve his term (I understand he had at most one year left), and then they can oust him fully legally in an election and Russia won’t even have an opening. Instead, the fools in the West salivate at any anti-Russian event so they don’t nip this illegal government in the bud. The rest is history.

            >Thus, regardless of long-term strategy, Western countries fear Russia more than China.

            Considering history, I can be sympathetic to Lithuania or Poland being on guard against Russia. As far as Western Europe and America is concerned however, I should point out that Chinese directly killed more West Europeans and Americans during the Korean War alone than anything the Russians have done. Reasonably, this should have soured the West against China, but NO.

            I wonder how recent does “recent memory” mean, but quite frankly most Russian moves can be easily explained by simple power and security considerations. They are thus easily understandable and little to fear. Peace is a simple matter of not encroaching on the Russian near aboard. Once the Ukrainians and Georgians know the West won’t be helping them in a jam, they will make *realistic* accomodations with Russia. Further, in the worst case, the Russians don’t have the raw oompf to dominate Western Europe even without the US.

            If anything, China is what the West is to be concerned. For one, they have close to 10 times Russia’s population. For another, they already have security. They are not being encroached on by an ever expanding unfriendly alliance. They are surrounded by military pygmies, especially to their South. And they keep expanding or trying to..And increasingly, they CAN.

            But at least they hadn’t invaded! The West may say. Here’s my observation: China gets a lot of slack from the West, so as long as they don’t actually invade someone with the PLA, the West will tolerate their actions with only “concern”. The smart thing for them is thus to expand while staying below the West’s line in a slow, continuous roll.

            The Russians, on the other hand, get opposed on every turn. I remember the uproar over the Russians suggesting maybe the Ukies can pay regular price for gas. If any maneuver you make will be opposed, your best chance is to move as little as possible, and when you have to move, just make one big move (one scream) instead of two (two screams).

            That’s the reason why Russia and China move differently.

  • Pingback: Russian Navy Discussions and Updates - Page 59 - DefenceTalk Forum - Military & Defense Forums()

  • Freethinking_Jeremy

    So it’s colonization of Russia when, for example, the Baltics broke free from Russian domination and joined NATO for protection? Do you think the people of these country would agree with you?

    And you think Russia’s corruption problem is colonization by the West? It’s them Jews isn’t it? Them’s is in conspiracy with the Western banks. And I bet them aliens from Mars are in on it too, ain’t they?

    • ersatzteil

      A senior rabbi in Moscow recently stated that Russian Jews face danger should Putin be ousted, and that Jews in Russia are far safer than in many Western countries. Swing and a miss on your antisemitism card there buddy.

      NATO expansion is a multi-level diplomatic effort by the United States that promises the heavens but delivers very little. Europe’s natural and historic partner for resources is Russia; NATO prevents this and ensures American dominance in Europe.

      Corruption is rampant everywhere so I’m not sure what your point is there.

      • Freethinking_Jeremy

        Eh, you’re still not making sense but now you’re not as funny. You’re just making random arguments rather than delusional claims.

  • Secundius

    On 23 March 2015, Putin received 16 Kamov Ka-52K Alligator’s, Navalized Tandem-Seat Coaxial-Rotor Scout/Attack Helicopters. Of 32 he ordered, in anticipation of get those two French Mistral class Gator-Freighter’s. Somehow he think’s he’s getting them…

    • Romi

      poor Putin, how big is his garage to park all his helicopters, and he really has his private harbour for Mistrals?

  • Freethinking_Jeremy

    “Russia was colonized in the 90’s” -> You didn’t address this. You claimed that Russia’s oligarch’s are the West’s fault. Oligarchy is not colonization (use a dictionary). Nor does it have anything to do with the West.

    “why countries choose to join NATO” -> Again, ask Baltic people whether they prefer NATO or Russia. Your claim that US is pushing NATO (your only reasonable claim) doesn’t actually change the point. It’s not colonization of Russia to convince a different country to join an alliance. It’s not even Russia and it’s not colonization (again, use a dictionary).

    “anti-semitism” -> I was labeling you crazy, not anti-semitic. And I wasn’t labeling Putin anything in that. So your claim that Putin isn’t anti-semitic is unrelated to my claim that you are crazy.

    • ersatzteil

      I explained that it was a combination of oligarchs and Western financial institutions. Some on the inside, some on the outside. The West benefited greatly from this arrangement, and they have never forgiven Putin for stopping the party.

      I didn’t say NATO expansion was colonization; the wealth confiscation was. NATO expansion contributed to further humiliating Russia, and they are strong enough to stand up to it now.

      I’m crazy compared to my fellow Americans I suppose, but Russia has done nothing to hurt me. I look at Russia as acting very rational. Then again I look at the US as acting rational, from an empire point of view. Why let Russia attract allies to challenge our dominance?

  • USAF5MapsUK

    “Russia can build exactly the kinds of ships it needs” obviously they can’t or they would have from the start. Your work here is done, now go cash your roubles check.

    • The USSR’s primary shipyard was in Ukraine. Was.

      • Secundius

        @ Joshua Issac.

        So was the Number One Manufacturer of Marine Gas Turbines Zorya-Mashproekt…

      • kiwirob

        You do realise that half these ships were built in St Petersburg. Russia has the yards to be able to build them, they didn’t for political reasons. The Navy brass didn’t want them either, the govt forced them on the Navy.

  • jeff maxwell

    These ships are built to Russian helicopter specs, the costs to transform them for NATO use would be huge. And why would Canada want them, for our ancient sea kings?

    • Secundius

      @ jeff maxwell.

      The Specifications for the Kamov Ka-52K are;
      Length of 52-feet 06-inches
      Empty Weight of 17,000-pounds
      Maximum Take-Off Weight is 22,930-pounds
      Gross Weight of 23,810-pounds

      Specifications of the Sikorsky/Westland/Augusta/Mitsubshi Sea King are:
      Length of 54-feet 09-inches
      Empty Weight of 11,865-pounds
      Maximum Take-Off Weight is 18,626-pounds
      Gross Weight is 22,050-pounds

      What’s your point, Operation Parameters are nearly identical…

      • jeff maxwell

        Was being sarcastic..sea kings are not assault platforms, the ka 50 and 52s are taller than NATO helicopters due to their coaxial blades. (Think thats spelled correctly )..that is my point.

        • Secundius

          @ jeff Maxwell.

          The Sea King, may not be a Attack Platform, but then again neither was the UH-1. My point, the Specification Parameters are almost identical. So the Operation of the Sea King on the Mistral, shouldn’t be a problem. And I’m pretty sure the Canadian’s have figured out the same thing…

          • jeff maxwell

            Sorry, but what the heck would a ship full of sea kings be any good for?

          • Secundius

            @ jeff maxwell.

            The Royal Marines use their Commando’s (Sea King’s) without the Floatation Pods, as Assault Helicopters. Maybe the Canadian’s want to use the ships to transport their Old Sea King’s, to those who are still willing to buy them. Who’s Know’s, sir. It’s their call…

          • jeff maxwell

            Ahhhh, I see you’re not Canadian…Well i am, and our old sea kings are ready for the scrap heap…A helicopter carrier is as useless to us as a sub would be for Mongolia.

          • Secundius

            @ jeff maxwell.

            Never said I was a Canadian. But I do have Family there. Why don’t you Ask the Canadian Government, for the need of a Gator-Freighter. I’m fairly current they must have a reason, for one…

          • Secundius

            @ jeff maxwell.

            Send your surplus Sea King’s to Central and South America, I’m fairly curtain you’ll find customers there…

  • Ellebal1111

    France should give the money to Ukraine for war reparation!