Paris Weighing Warship Sale to Russia

Paris Weighing Warship Sale  to Russia Paris Weighing Warship Sale  to Russia

France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Tuesday that the country would make a decision in November over whether or not to proceed with its controversial sale of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia.

France had long resisted pressure from the United States and its other allies to call off the controversial 1.2 billion euro ($1.58 billion) deal, before deciding last month to suspend the sale by pushing back the original end-of-October delivery date, France 24 reported.

At the time, French President François Hollande said that he would only hand over the first of the two carriers – the Vladivostok – if there was a lasting truce and a political settlement in Ukraine.

 “[President Hollande]... said that if the political conditions did not change he did not envisage giving the authorization for delivery,” Le Drian told reporters on Tuesday.

He declined to say whether the conditions had now been met, but said the president would make a decision “during November”.

French officials are remaining tight-lipped over the fate of the Mistral contract, with Russia warning that it will seek damages if it is cancelled or suspended.

Some of France’s NATO allies fear that if the deal goes through, it would grant Russia access to advanced technology, thereby strengthening it militarily.