France breaches norms of international law by selling Mistrals to Russia, expert says


Ukrainian politics

France directly violates a key EU document in arms trade by supplying warships to Russia, stated Mykhailo Samus, expert at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament, censor.NET reports referring to Delovaya Stolitsa. The naval shipbuilding crisis in Europe deepens, EU’s Navy “dries out” without budget support, the navy’s prospects of development are grim. Export is the only solution for the European shipbuilders. But in international markets goods like the Mistrals are not too popular: they are too expensive and have too specific tasks. This ship is needed by countries that are going to conduct large-scale assault operations. But, as a rule, these countries (eg, the US and China) make their own counterparts and do not intend to depend on foreigners in this sensitive area.

France tries to convince the international community that the sale of Mistrals to Russia does not violate anything because the Russian Federation is subject to the UN and the EU arms embargo. However, there is a small detail that French officials prefer to remain silent about. Since 1998 the EU Code of Conduct acts concerning arms exports, which in 2008 was confirmed by the Common Position that determines EU rules in the field of exporting military technology and equipment. These documents contain criteria for EU countries to conduct arms business. The sale of Mistrals to Russia in the circumstances of the occupation of Crimea and war in Ukraine violates six out of eight criteria of this Code of Conduct.

Criterion №2. Respect for human rights in the recipient country. It seems unnecessary to go into details on how the human rights situation in Russia are far from respected. And although the Mistrals can hardly be used for repression against its own people, the actual delivery of offensive weapons can serve as an encouragement for an undemocratic government to further tighten its authoritarian regime.

Criterion №3. Internal situation in the recipient country in terms of the existence of tensions and armed conflicts. Armed conflict and tension in the Caucasus in Russia did not stop for the last two decades and is unlikely to end in the near future.

Criterion №4. Preservation of regional peace, security, and stability. This criterion provides that the EU will not export weapons if there is a risk of its recipient country aggressively using them against another country or a military solution to a territorial dispute. The explanation for this item states that such a risk is understood as the existence or likelihood of armed conflict between the recipient country and another country; the existence of territorial claims against a neighboring country, which the country-recipient of arms could try solving by force; the probability that the equipment can negatively affect regional stability. You could say that this criterion ideally fits modern Russia in all aspects.

Criterion №5. National security of member countries and territories whose external relations are the responsibility of the member countries, as well as friendly countries and allied nations. Member States undertake not to sell arms to countries that might threaten national security, not only other members of the EU, but also the security of friendly states. After the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine may rightly consider themselves friendly and allied countries of the European Union.

Criterion №6. Behavior of the purchasing country within the international community, including links to terrorism, its allied connections, and respect for international law. Here every word pertains to modern Russia: direct support for terrorists in the Donbas, and allies (Syria and North Korea), and especially respect for international law as a result of the occupation of Crimea.

Translated by Dmitri Halby, edited by Alya Shandra

Source: , originally on No Mistrals for Putin


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