Originally published at 10:31
- Russia Begins Construction of Mistral Ship Base
- France Floats Out First Russian Mistral Warship
- Russia to Receive First Mistral Warship in November 2014
- Russia Recognizes Crimea’s Independence
- Western Countries Sanction Russian Officials Over Crimea Vote
MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Paris will consider canceling a 1.2-billion-euro deal to deliver two Mistral-class warships to the Russian navy if Moscow provokes further escalation in Ukraine, the French foreign minister has said.
In the interview with France’s TF1 channel on Monday, Laurent Fabius denied the legitimacy of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea to join Russia and urged Moscow to take urgent measures to avoid “useless and dangerous” escalation of the situation in Ukraine.
"If Putin carries on like this, we could consider canceling the sales,” Fabius said adding that the possible loss of the contracts could have a negative impact on the French economy.
The remarks came after the US and EU imposed sanctions Monday on senior Russian officials following a referendum in Ukraine's Crimea in which voters overwhelmingly supported secession and reunification with Russia.
The French minister, however, appeared to soften the tone of his warning to Russia on Tuesday, saying that he had actually meant a possible suspension of the sale and only if it were accompanied by equivalent action by other EU countries.
"What is being envisaged is the suspension of these contracts but ... that would only be in the event of us moving to a third level of sanctions and we are not there yet," Fabius said.
He reiterated that the sanctions “must involve everyone” and urged the United Kingdom to “do something equivalent with the assets of the Russian oligarchs in London.”
In response to Fabius’ remarks, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Tuesday that “France is starting to undermine confidence it is a reliable provider in the very sensitive sector of military and technical cooperation."
“All those political waves around the referendum in Crimea will soon subside, but our countries will have to continue working together,” Rogozin, who has been targeted by recent EU sanctions, said in his Twitter blog.
Under a June 2011 contract signed between Russia and France, the first French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, named Vladivostok, will be delivered to Russia by the year-end, while the second warship, the Sevastopol, is due to arrive in 2015.
The ships are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 soldiers and are expected to be deployed with Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned earlier this month that sanctions against Russia would cause mutual damage in the interconnected, globalized modern world.
Updates with new Fabius comments, Rogozin response, minor rewrites
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
- mythoslightNo problem...14:15, 18/03/2014...since this was planned as Russian retaliation to western fascist hostilities anyway and besides, Russia has already finished the first part of the deal in which Russia acquired the technology and that will come to good use....
- Mikhail1228Putin and the EU16:03, 18/03/2014Putin should intentionally default on 700 billion in debt to German banks as a retaliation to EU sanctions, then raise the price of natural gas. Gazprom should deman payment in gold and nothing else. This response would hurt and cripple the EU!
- McBearsCanSANCTIONS?20:16, 18/03/2014The French contemplate cancelling a deal that will hurt France---that's sanctions?
- Veselko3Do you remember the S-300 for Iran ?21:02, 18/03/2014Russia was starting to undermine confidence it is a reliable provider in the very sensitive sector of military and technical cooperation
- Mikhail1228Some things Putin could do.....22:22, 18/03/2014Putin could intentionally default on 700 billion in debt to German banks as a retaliation to Western sanctions, then raise the price of natural gas. Gazprom should demand payment from the EU in gold and nothing else. This response would hurt the EU!
- bielecIt is a childish reaction...00:42, 19/03/2014...over the fact that Russia has outmaneouvered them with the Ukrainian "revolution". What makes them so angry is the realization of their own incompetence.
The Crimea referendum has turned a page in the history of Eastern Europe. The actual process of Crimea's integration into the Russian Federation will take some time, but from now on this is a technicality. After all, hasn't Putin managed to bring Crimea back without a shot being fired? Sanctions come and go. Sevastopol will stay.