After Vladimir Putin’s meeting with French President François Hollande, the Kremlin said that Russia would accept its money back as a resolution to the dispute with France over non-delivery of two Mistral-class warships. When France initially punted, the Kremlin had insisted on either delivery or repayment plus damages, but it has apparently now dropped the latter condition.The deal for the two ships built in France is worth some $1.7 billion, and if all had gone according to plan it would have been followed by another to build two more ships in Russia. But after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine, EU leaders raised concerns. Paris eventually suspended delivery of the powerful ships, which carry helicopters and troops and are designed to enable the kind of rapid amphibious assaults that Russia does not now have the equipment to carry out effectively.When Hollande finally blocked the deal, he conditioned the indefinite suspension on Russia’s acting in accordance to the terms of the Minsk Protocol ceasefire agreement for eastern Ukraine. It’s not unreasonable to conclude, then, that if Russia is willing to cash out permanently it doesn’t plan on behaving well in eastern Ukraine for quite a while.
Cutting lossesKremlin: Money or Mistrals Will Do