France paid Russia €409 million as compensation for cancelling a contract to build two ‘Mistral’ amphibious assault ships in 2015 instead of €785 million as was stated by Paris earlier.
The French ‘Court of Auditors’ revealed the financial cost for non-delivery of the two helicopter carriers to Russia was €409 million, La Tribune reported.
However, a 2015 statement from the then President François Hollande's office stated that the amount of compensation was €785 million against a sum of €1.2 billion demanded by Moscow.
The Kremlin said in a statement that France has already transferred these funds and, after the return of equipment, will acquire ownership and be able to take charge of both ships.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that the total cost of reimbursing Russia would be less than €1.2 billion. He told RTL Radio there was “no further dispute on the matter.” He did not specify the precise sum.
Moscow had ordered two French Mistrals for €1.2 billion in 2011. In November 2014, France suspended the contract, citing Moscow's annexation of Crimea as the reason behind terminating the deal. The contract was formally axed in August 2015. Egypt then emerged as Paris’ replacement customer with Cairo inking a nearly €850 million contract for the helicopter carriers in September of the same year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in April downplayed the importance of the ships but insisted that the French side reimburse Moscow for "all expenses" if the contract were to be cancelled.
French Mistrals have a length of 199m, displacement of 22,000 tons, speed of 20 knots and capacity to carry 8 helicopters. The over 220m planned “Russian Mistrals” are likely to have displacement of 25,000 tons and ability to carry 20 helicopters.