Two months after French president Hollande, under heavy pressure from NATO, decided to scrap a deal to deliver two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia which were sold to Egypt instead (the same Egypt whose foreign reserves are plummeting, whose fiscal house is in total disarray, which just devalued its currency, and which could only afford the $1.1 billion purchase if the CIA handed its military dictator the cash via envelope), the same French President announced on Wednesday that he "expects to sell new warships to Russia in the near future."
Quoted by AP during a visit to the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in western France, Hollande said that "Things went well with Russia, which has agreed to cancel the contract. And I even think we'll get partnerships for new ships." He didn't specify whether they could be military ships. More from AP:
Hollande came aboard one of the warships that was originally named the Vladivostok, in reference to the Russian port. The inscription on the hull has been erased and replaced by grey paint.
The Mistral sale was supposed to be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia, until the deal fell apart because of the Ukraine crisis. France refunded the 950 million euros ($1 billion) already paid by Russia and sold the ships to Egypt, which signed a 950 million-euro contract last week.
"I had to sell them to a country that needed to ensure its own security but didn't threaten anyone," Hollande said.
The assault ships can each carry 16 helicopter gunships, 700 troops and up to 50 armored vehicles. They are due to be delivered to Egyptian authorities in March 2016.
The ships are supposed to arrive in Egypt in summer 2016 but first they should be de-equipped of Russian-developed command, control and communication systems.
Russia promptly responded with the following simple and brief message:
Paris is looking to sell new ships to Russia, France's President Francois Hollande said during his visit to the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. The president, however, neglected to mention whether Russia is actually eager to purchase such hardware from France.
Or, as it summarized all of the above: "Sale away."