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France: Conditions Unmet for Mistral Delivery

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that Paris will not be handing over control of the two powerful Mistral Class warships it sold to Moscow, stating that “today the conditions have not been met for their delivery.” The ships, which carry helicopters, tanks, and troops and can also serve as floating hospitals, would empower the Russian military to mount much more effective amphibious assaults. France has come in for scathing criticism from its allies for its reluctance to halt the multi-billion dollar deal despite Putin’s predations in Ukraine.

President Hollande postponed the handover of the first of the two ships on September 3, when Russian sailors were already in France training to operate it. This latest statement suggests another postponement could be in the works. For the time being, France’s plan to arm Russia won’t be in the way of elusive European solidarity on Ukraine.

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