News just broke that France is halting the controversial delivery of two Mistral class warships to Russia. The ships are helicopter carriers that specialize in amphibious assault, and their planned delivery by France drew American and European condemnation, since it was seen as empowering Putin and his increasingly adventurous expansionist tendencies in Ukraine.The communique issued by French officials on the subject says that the current situation with Russia and Ukraine makes delivering the ships unacceptable. Quick translation by Deutsche Welle:
“The President of the Republic declared that – despite the prospect of a ceasefire which still remains to be confirmed and implemented – to date, the conditions for France to deliver the first warship are not in place,” a statement from the office of French President Francois Hollande read.
Most Western leaders may not yet fully comprehend the real zero-sum nature of the game Putin has dragged them into, but announcements like these are glimmers of hope that enlightenment is dawning. EU leaders may not be on the cusp of arming Ukrainian fighters quite yet, but at least France is no longer planning on actively empowering Russia during this crisis.