Hollande states Mistral delivery suspended until further notice

President Francois Hollande has now publicly reaffirmed that the delivery of the first of two Mistral-class warships to Russia is suspended until a new order is issued.

See:

(1) Le Monde.fr avec AFP, “La France reporte « jusqu’à nouvel ordre » la livraison des Mistral à la Russie,” Le Monde, 25 Novembre 2014 (Mis à jour à 15h02).

The announcement, reproduced in Le Monde, stated the following:

« Le président de la République considère que la situation actuelle dans l’est de l’Ukraine ne permet toujours pas la livraison du premier BPC [bâtiment de projection et de commandement]. Il a donc estimé qu’il convenait de surseoir, jusqu’à nouvel ordre, à l’examen de la demande d’autorisation nécessaire à l’exportation du premier BPC à la Fédération de Russie. »

Informal English translation:

The President of the Republic considers that the current situation in the East of the Ukraine still dos not permit the delivery of the first BPC (bâtiment de projection et de commandement)[ship for projection and command of forces]. It is therefore judged appropriate to suspend, until a new order, the examination of the request of the necessary export authorization of the first BPC to the Russian Federation.

(2) CARLOS YÁRNOZ (Paris), “Francia aplaza la entrega de un buque de guerra a Rusia
Hollande esgrime que la situación en Ucrania “no permite” culminar el contrato,” El Pais, 25 Novembre 2014 (14:45 CET).

(3) “Frankreich setzt Mistral-Lieferung an Russland aus; Das milliardenschwere Kriegsschiff-Geschäft zwischen Paris und Moskau liegt weiter auf Eis. Die aktuelle Lage in der Ostukraine erlaube die Lieferung nicht, sagte der französische Präsident Hollande, ” Der Spiegel, 25. November 2014 (15:10 Uhr).

(4) Renaud Février, “Livraison du Mistral reportée: quel sera le prix à payer?; L’Elysée a annoncé le report de la livraison des navires de guerre “jusqu’à nouvel ordre”. Quelles conséquences? le 25 Novembre 2014 (à 20h04).

Analysis

1. The EU and NATO should now move energetically to find a new purchaser for the two Mistral-class warships France originally contracted for delivery to Russia.

2. In terms of France defending itself against any attempts to recover damages from France or French companies, under international law French cancellation of the contracts would appear to be wholly justifiable as a measure of collective self-defense of the Ukraine, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, so long as Russian military forces occupy the Crimea and remain in the eastern Ukraine.

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