Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Terminates Mistral Warship Contract, Opts for Refund

Russia ordered the ships from France in 2011, but Paris suspended the delivery of the helicopter-carrying assault ships in response to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.

Russia is no longer negotiating for the delivery of two French-built Mistral-class warships, and is only interested in receiving compensation for the violated 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) contract for the ships, news agency RBC quoted a top Russian official as saying Tuesday.

"It's now a matter of fact that Russia is not taking them [the Mistral ships], and now there is only one discussion — the amount of money which should be returned to Russia," the deputy chairman of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, Oleg Bochkarev told RBC.

Russia ordered the ships from France in 2011, but Paris suspended the delivery of the helicopter-carrying assault ships in response to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Moscow had previously said it must either receive the ships, or compensation.

Citing inside sources, newspaper Kommersant reported two weeks ago that Russia has demanded 1.16 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to cover not only its 893 million euro ($973 million) advance, but additional costs incurred to prepare bases, sailors and helicopters for the ships. France has made a counter-offer of just 785 million euros ($855.5 million), Kommersant reported.

Bochkarev said Russia would construct its own class of amphibious assault ships, but that they would not be copies of the French Mistral class, since Russian naval doctrine takes a different approach to landing troops on foreign beaches. He did not specify how Russian naval tactics differ.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.