Thursday, February 11, 2010

French-Russian Warship Deal Making Waves Among NATO Allies

By Ahto Lobjakas

The French daily "Le Monde" broke the news on February 9: Paris had "agreed in principle" to negotiate the sale of one or more Mistral-class ships to Russia.If the sale goes through, it will be the first deal of its kind between a member of NATO and Russia.Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first voiced Russian interest in buying a Mistral-class ship during a trip to Paris in late November. As he spoke, a Mistral was docked in St Petersburg -- part of a carefully choreographed move -- playing host to Russian combat helicopters.

Feeling vulnerable, a number of Russia's former satellites have mounted a bid to derail the sale. Georgia is particularly bothered, as memories of its August 2008 war with Russia are still very fresh.NATO's new Eastern allies along the Baltic Sea are also unsettled, however, and have taken their concerns not only to Paris but to Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels. French officials expect the sale of the Mistrals to be officially announced during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Paris in early March.........................Radio Liberty


Truth been told, i would be nervous if the deal goes through. Mistral is a highly potent blue-water capable force projection asset. The Bear hasn't exactly had a good track record of playing nice n' fair. Mistral BPC on hand of the Bear? Errr....

Wonder what Russian's Mistral air complement would be. Have seen pictures of Kamov Ka-50/52 flying off Mistral in recent press release.

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