Ukrainian MFA calls upon France to suspend Mistral deal – briefing

SINGAPORE-DEFENCE-NAVAL

2014/08/09 • Political News

August 6, 2014

Regarding the new phase of sectoral sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy, one of the key sensitive issues that remain is Paris’s intention to deliver two strategic Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. Our position on this issue is unequivocal.

Ukraine opposes the delivery of Mistrals to the Russian Federation. The Russian side behaves as an aggressor, which is acknowledged by our international partners:

  • It brutally and under false pretenses occupied part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine: Crimea and the city of Sevastopol;
  • Russian mercenaries continue to fight in the Donbas against the territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people;
  • Russia supports terrorists in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts with weapons, military equipment, which brings death and suffering to Donbas civilians included;
  • Russia ignores Ukraine’s and the international community’s appeals to seal the border to the flow of terrorists and weapons into Ukraine and to stop encouraging the militants to further escalate the violence in eastern Ukraine, showing itself as an irresponsible international partner.

We believe that under these circumstances giving the Mistrals into the hands of Russia means exposing the Black Sea region and the entire Euro-Atlantic community to new threats and danger.

The commander of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky once said that if in August 2008 Russia had helicopter carriers of the Mistral type, Russia would have deployed its troops to Georgia in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours. This is a real illustration of Russia’s true intentions regarding the Mistrals: using them in its aggressive occupation policy.

The sale of Mistrals to Russia is an undesirable signal of its impunity for violating international law and its aggression, to which Georgia fell victim in 2008 and today falls Ukraine. If for all this Russia would receive the Mistrals, then Moscow could give a very fast answer to the question of who’s next.

We understand that the decision to abandon the contract does not come easily for France, as a responsible international partner. However, we believe that international security and democratic values, freedom, and the lives of civilians are worth incomparably more than EUR 1 bn.

We urgently call upon France to suspend implementing the Mistral contract. There are all legal grounds for such a decision, in accordance with the criteria set out in Article 2 of the EU Common Position on Arms Exports from 8.12.2008.

We appeal to our allies and partners, including the EU Member States and NATO members, to take a principled stand on this issue, which will will be our common collective contribution to international peace and security.

Source: mfa.gov.ua, translated by Alya Shandra

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