PARIS, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - The new sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia will not impact the delivery of Mistral warships to Russia, according to the director of corporate media relations at DCNS, a French naval defense company.
“The first ship is almost constructed, the second one is half-ready. As any normal industry, we seek to satisfy our client and to execute the contract at our best,” Emmanuel Gaudez told RIA Novosti, commenting on the introduction of new US sanctions against Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation.
Last week, the United States once again spoke against France fulfilling the terms of the Mistral contract it signed with Russia. US State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters it would be “completely inappropriate” in light of recent events in Ukraine. British Prime Minister David Cameron also criticized Paris for its plan to sell Mistral ships to Russia and called the deal “unthinkable."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, however, said that Paris has not questioned complying with the obligations of the Mistral helicopter carrier deal signed with Russia.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011.
Under the contract, the first ship, the Vladivostok, is to be delivered to Russia by the end of the year, while the second, the Sevastopol, is due in 2015.
The vessels, which are expected to be deployed in Russia’s Pacific Fleet, are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers each.
Russia is also planning to complete the construction of a Mistral-class carrier base in Russia’s Far East port of Vladivostok by next year’s fall. The base would be a complex with garrisons, service support and fueling facilities.