Russian Defense Ministry calls for civilized solution over Mistrals

The Russian Defense Ministry will not be too upset if France eventually decides not to supply the Mistral helicopter carriers, and will be able to find good use for the money paid back, an informed source from the Defense Ministry told Interfax-AVN.

"Would Mistrals fit into the Russian Navy's infrastructure? Yes, they would. Would they add to the navy's overall fighting efficiency? Absolutely. On the other hand, shall we be 'biting our elbows' if we don't get the ships? No," the source said.

The Defense Ministry's position over Mistrals is clear, he said. "If you give them, good; if not - after all, we are living in a civilized world - give us our money back," the source said

"We know where to spend it to achieve the same result, but with other means," he said.

Asked whether NATO will be able to use the ships somehow, the source said: "This, of course, is more a question for NATO. I think, without some sort of extra adjustments, no. The ships were made for us, to suit our control system," he said.

The contract for construction of the two amphibious assault ships was signed in June 2011. The contract is worth 1.2 billion euro. The first ship, Vladivostok, was due to be supplied by France on November 14, 2014.

Earlier French President Francois Hollande said he had decided to suspend Vladivostok's delivery because of the situation in eastern Ukraine. For their part, Russian officials said they were waiting either for the ships or the refund.

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