News Brief — May 6, 2015
Le Figaro reports that France is considering scuttling the two newly built Mistral-class helicopter carriers built by shipbuilders at Saint-Nazaire, one of France’s biggest shipyards.
Citing French officials, the newspaper said Paris was seriously considering scuttling the ships if the contract with Russia was terminated.
France was supposed to have received €1.12 billion ($1.25 billion) from Moscow for the sale of two state-of-the-art warships but under pressure from its Western allies France postponed the sale, perhaps indefinitely.
The modern ships were built according to Russian standards and specifically for Russian military helicopters. The cost of converting them for use by the French military or other countries’ forces would run into hundreds of millions of euros, the newspaper said, citing experts.
Under pressure from its Western allies, France had suspended the contract for the supply of the two ships to Russia after Russia seized Crimea in March last year and supported the insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has demanded either the delivery of the vessels or a refund of its money.