News / Europe

Russia Confident Warship Deal With France Will Proceed

Under NATO Pressure, France Puts Freeze on Russia Warship Deali
X
September 04, 2014 9:47 PM
France has postponed a deal to deliver two advanced warships to Russia. French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that Russia's intervention in eastern Ukraine meant conditions were not right to complete the delivery. France faces a huge bill for halting the contract. And as Henry Ridgwell reports from the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, where the vessels are under construction, there is local anger at the potential fallout.

Related report: "Under NATO Pressure, France Puts Freeze on Russia Warship Deal"

Henry Ridgwell

Russian authorities say they expect their deal to buy two warships from France will go through, despite the announcement in Paris that delivery of the first vessel has been suspended.

That statement Thursday follows comments by French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday that Russia's intervention in eastern Ukraine meant conditions were not right to complete the delivery.

Russia's industry minister Denis Manturov said Thursday the Kremlin “assumes the $1.6 billion contract will be fulfilled according to the agreements” with France. Neither side has indicated when the warships might be transferred to Russian control.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thanked France for halting its Mistral delivery to Russia during a meeting with French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of Thursday's NATO summit in Wales.

Saint-Nazaire shipyard

The first two Mistral helicopter assault ships destined for Russia are near completion, and 400 Russian sailors have been in France since June, training in shipyards at Saint-Nazaire on France’s Atlantic coast. A Russian crew already is aboard the Vladivostok warship as construction continues.

The second assault vessel is to be named Sevastopol, after the port in Crimea that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in March.

Meanwhile, France faces a huge bill if it does halt the contract, and at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard where the vessels are under construction, there is local anger at the potential fallout.

Towering above the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, the sleek matte-gray lines of the Vladivostok conceal a wealth of cutting-edge technology. The ship is designed to carry helicopters and tanks for amphibious assault, and was due to be delivered to Russia next month. The deal was worth over $1.5 billion; Paris now faces paying the money back.

With Russia accused of sending troops into eastern Ukraine, France had little choice, according to Ian Bond, director of Foreign Policy at the Center for European Reform in London.

“I’m sure that pressure from other NATO members will have had some influence on the French, but I think also that domestically there had been stories that, even among the people who were building these ships, there was some concern about what they were really doing and why they were supplying ships to Russia in these circumstances,” he said.

Financial fallout

But on the dockside in Saint-Nazaire, there also is fear over the consequences of freezing the deal. Jean-Claude Blanchard is the local leader of the far-right National Front party, which is staunchly defending the deal.

Blanchard said that if Russia wishes to start a war with anyone, they would not need these ships.

“I think that the Russian navy is already well-equipped,” he said, adding that the ships directly support 800 jobs, and thousands more through suppliers and subsidiary contracts.

Docked nearby and ringed by a high fence, the Russian frigate Smolny is home to 400 Russian sailors who were sent here to train on the new Mistral-type warships. Their fate remains unclear.

The Russian visitors -- and the warships -- have become a tourist attraction.

Joel Lauvaux, who is on vacation in the area, said, “It’s delicate, in the sense that the ships were already commissioned, already built, already paid for. Some say canceling the contract will provoke even more tensions. But that’s not evident. So I think on balance it’s better to cancel, than give them to Russia.”

A march is planned for Sunday in Saint-Nazaire to protest against the postponement of the contract. Paris and its NATO allies say they have sympathy for local workers, but Europe’s security must come first.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Greg from: US
September 05, 2014 4:02 PM
Why doesn't NATO buy them from France for a Quick Reaction Force in the Crimea?


by: Mike Dvorzak
September 05, 2014 1:37 PM
If France transfers these ships to Russia, blow them out of the water after the wire transfer is confirmed.


by: OnioWoess from: Hamburg
September 05, 2014 9:25 AM
The value and necessity of these tubs are very controversial even in Russia itself since 2011. Because Russia is a continetal power, unlike imperially pointed USA (whose 800 military bases were placed all over the world). Therefore Russia doesn't have any need in these type of warships. So, France would make a good favor if refused the contract and will return the money and the penalties. Then Russia could build her own ships more suitable for the purposes.


by: Igor from: Russia
September 05, 2014 4:53 AM
There are countless stupid actions from the West including Mr. Obama alone to try to freeze the delivery of the warship to Russia despite the consequences from their stupid actions on French economy. It is high time for France not to obey the US's and UK's orders.

In Response

by: Ron from: US
September 05, 2014 1:59 PM
Actually they look like fantastic ships. Russia and France have done a great job. I am sure Russia knows what it is doing in ordering these ships. It seems Obama is also doing what he needs to do to try and keep all the participants in this 'party' happy which cannot be easy to do. Russia is in reality a natural partner of the US in many things and it is by far in Russia's best interest to be so as it already knows. I hope that the partnership in science and energy is 'recovered'. There are many real dangers and situations to deal with. Not the imaginary cold war threats which should be seen by now for what they are which is a tempest in a teapot.

In Response

by: Mike Dvorzak
September 05, 2014 1:41 PM
Igor, you're on the wrong side. In fifteen years you will be trying to find a way to defect.


by: Mindy from: US
September 05, 2014 2:24 AM
And the French are NATO allies? To build a warship for the country which forms the basis for NATO's very existence, whether during good relations or strained, is disgusting. There is absolutely no rationale for "honoring" this contract, jobs, economy, fulfilling contract. None. The Russians would build it themselves if they could. Once they have the technology, it's too late. Some alternative must be found.

If not, global boycott of Paris tourism, products, etc

In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
September 05, 2014 6:26 AM
Stop threatening France with boycotting or sactioning. Because France will soon leave NATO for good.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid