U.S. Warns France on Ship Sale to Russia

Posted May 15, 2014 at 9:38am

The New York Times reports that “in a closed-door meeting in February 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged his French counterpart not to proceed with the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia because it ‘would send the wrong message to Russia and to our allies in Central and East Europe.’”  

“The French official, Hervé Morin, acknowledged that each of the ships — so-called Mistral-class vessels built for the French Navy to carry troops, landing craft, and helicopters — was ‘indeed a warship for power projection,’ according to a confidential diplomatic cable on the meeting, which was made public by WikiLeaks. But Mr. Morin ‘asked rhetorically how we can tell Russia we desire partnership but then not trust them,’ the cable added.”  

“With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and some 40,000 Russian troops deployed near Ukraine, Western officials are no longer putting their trust in Russia’s intentions. But despite American objections, the sale is still on track, and the first ship is scheduled for delivery late this year.”