Disagreements concerning the amount of money that France should refund Russia for the failure to supply the Mistral-class helicopter carriers may delay the preparation of the agreement on severance of the contract, a high-ranking source in the sphere of military-technical cooperation told Interfax-AVN on May 20.
"France previously received 840 million euros. This amount is being discussed. Paris wants to reduce it, saying it has incurred costs. We are trying to increase it for the same motives, but not radically," the source said.
The source said that another issue is connected to the request made by France to resolve the issue of the helicopter carriers' resale to third-party countries.
"The thing is that Russia holds the end user certificate and has all legal grounds to prohibit the sale of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers to other countries," the source said.
The source said that "the negotiations are going constructively and there is every reason for the parties to reach a mutually acceptable compromise." "The general tone of the dialogue is positive, no one wants to exacerbate the situation," the source said.
Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships. The contract for the construction of two helicopter carriers cost 1.2 billion euros.
The delivery of the first helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, to the Russian Navy was due in the middle of November 2014, but the French administration refused to honor its contractual commitments under the pressure from NATO allies, primarily the United States, using the escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine as an excuse. The second carrier, the Sevastopol, was supposed to be transferred to Russia in fall 2015.
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