French President François Hollande has placed a hold on the delivery of the first Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia in view of the deadly conflict in east Ukraine, the president’s office said on Tuesday.
“The president of the republic considers the present situation in east Ukraine still does not allow the delivery of the first [projection and command ship],” the Elysée president’s office said in a statement. “He has decided that it is appropriate to suspend, until further notice, the examination of the request for export authorization for the first [projection and command ship] to the Russian Federation.”
French ministers previously said Hollande would decide in November whether to grant permission for a delivery.
Hollande set two conditions for delivery: the observation of a ceasefire in Ukraine and a political agreement between Moscow and Kiev.
A UN human rights organization has reported that almost 1,000 people have been killed in Ukraine between the ceasefire agreement in September and Nov. 18 Agence-France Press reported. That is an average 13 dead a day and more than 4,300 combatants and civilians slain since pro-Russia insurgents seized regions in eastern Ukraine in April, the UN said. The total figure includes the 298 lives lost in the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight in July, the news agency reported.
The prime contractor, state-owned DCNS, had previously arranged for a hand-over ceremony of the first of two ships — the Vladivostok — to the arms agency Rosoboronexport and a putting into water of the sister ship, Sevastopol, on Nov. 14. DCNS canceled the ceremony, which was revealed by Russian RIA news agency.
Sevastopol’s delivery is scheduled for the last quarter of 2015.
France signed the €1.2 billion (US $1.4 billion) deal in 2011, and has come under diplomatic pressure from Western nations and Baltic allies to refuse the hand over to Russia.
Source : http://www.defensenews.com/