Since the tragedy of the MH17 plane shot down by Russia-armed terrorists in Eastern Ukraine, world politicians have been more frequently voicing their concern for the Mistral deal. However, France has been advised not to sell warships to Russia long before Putin fueled a war in Ukraine and annexed Crimea. We have made a list of the top statements of politicians warning France against selling Mistrals to Putin.
July 21st 2014:
David Cameron: “Frankly in this country (in the UK) it would be unthinkable to fulfil an order like the one outstanding that the French have.” “But we need to put the pressure on with all our partners to say that we cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it is behaving in this way.”
Rebecca Harms, German MEP : “I am convinced that it would be a threat to the EU and to NATO if France exports the Mistrals to Russia”. “I have suggested together with colleagues from the EU parliament that NATO buy the Mistrals and invest more in its defense”. “France is leaving the compromise of the EU to have a democratic development”.
François Hollande, 21 July 2014: “The deal has been signed in 2011, the first boat is nearly completed and has to be delivered in October”. “The delivery of the second boat will depend on Russia’s attitude. But at this stage, there is no sanction that would force us to cancel this delivery”. “If there were to be sanctions, it would come from the European Council, and would concern only future orders”
July 20th 2014:
Robert C. O’Brien, a former US representative in the UN and former adviser to Governer Mitt Romney: “France should have cancelled its sale of sophisticated amphibious warships to Russia when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimea in March. The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian proxies in Ukraine on Thursday now mandates such action by Paris. American political and economic leadership has a role to play in the matter.” “For its part, the United States should relieve the economic burden on France by purchasing the warships for the U.S. Navy. The purchase would not cost U.S. taxpayers a cent. France’s bank BNP Paribas SA just agreed to pay an $8.97 billion fine to the United States for violating sanctions against Iran.”
Klimkin, Ukraine foreign minister: “For us it is critical for the Mistrals not to be transferred to Russia, and we are working on this. This is a question the president is raising constantly with President Hollande, and I have discussed this many times with the Foreign Minister of France.” “We say you are violating your political obligations regarding the sale of arms. After all, you are preparing to sell the Mistrals to a country that has committed an act of aggression. And the main thing — even if the Mistrals are transferred to Russia — the French must work hard to ensure that the ships will be used somewhere in the Pacific and not where they can be used for their intended purpose. That is, not in the Black or Baltic seas.”
July 18th 2014:
Merkel: “Germany has put on hold the construction of a shooting centre in Russia, given the situation,”
July 17th 2014:
EU Parliament Resolution: Point 12: The parliament “welcomes (…) further sanctions against Russia, which should include the economic, financial and energy sectors, and an arms and dual-use technology embargo; calls for a collective ban on the sale of arms to Russia and urges its implementation until the situation in eastern Ukraine has normalised; warns that any further steps by Russia to destabilise Ukraine will lead to additional and far-reaching consequences for EU-Russian relations”.
June 5th 2014:
US President Obama: “I think it would have been preferable to press the pause button in light of the Ukrainian crisis”.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski: “Russian generals have already said what these ships will be used for: to threaten Russia’s neighbours in the Black Sea and that means Europe’s partners. France should cancel this deal.”
US State Secretary John Kerry to French Foreign Minister Fabius: “This sale is not helpful.”
Robert M Gates, then US Minister of Defense: “France should not to proceed with the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia because it would send the wrong message to Russia and to our allies in Central and East Europe.”
WikiLeaks cables show that the United States had concerns about the way Russia was obtaining the ships since 2009. In an appearance before Congress in May 2014,Victoria Nuland, the senior State Department official for European Affairs, said that the Obama administration had “consistently expressed our concerns about this sale.”