Friday

19th Jan 2018

US says French warships to Russia 'unhelpful'

  • Russia's Igor Sechin, who signed the Mistral deal with France, is on the US sanctions list (Photo: navy.mil)

The US has criticised France for planning to deliver two warships to Russia despite its actions in Ukraine.

State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told press in Washington on Monday (12 May) "we have expressed our concerns to the French government over the sale. We'll continue to do so".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Obviously, as you know, there are sanctions that have been put in place. I'd have to specifically check here to see if there's a legal question or if this is just a question of whether we find this to be unhelpful."

For its part, France has ruled out an arms embargo on Russia even if it invades eastern Ukraine or disrupts its 25 May presidential elections.

The Mistral ships were sold to Russia for €1.2 billion shortly after its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

A Russian admiral later said he could have won the war in "40 minutes instead of 26 hours" if he had had them earlier.

A French official told Reuters on Monday the first of the vessels will be delivered to Russia in the fourth quarter of this year. "The contract has been paid and there would be financial penalties for not delivering it," he said.

Psaki noted that, France aside, the US is "working in lockstep with the EU to put in place consequences for the illegal and illegitimate actions of Russia".

EU ministers the same day expanded their Russia blacklist from 48 to 61 people and two Crimean companies.

The top names added were Russian President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff, Vyacheslav Volodin, and Russian military chief Vladimir Shamanov, both named for their role in the annexation of Crimea.

The new list includes Viacheslav Ponomariov, a separatist from Slaviansk, Ukraine, blamed for kidnapping EU military monitors sent on a mission by the OSCE, a multilateral body based in Vienna.

It also includes people who organised the bogus referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Natalia Poklonskaya, a young Crimean prosecutor.

The Crimean entities are oil firm Feodosia and gas company Chernomorneftegaz. Both were confiscated after Russia invaded Crimea, with Western sanctions to block Russia's Gazprom from acquiring the gas firm.

Russia's deputy FM, Sergei Ryabkov, complained about the new measures.

"EU colleagues are demonstrating a one-sided and one-dimensional policy, not worthy of the European Union," he told Russian media.

Rustam Temirgaliyev, a Crimean politician who was already under an EU travel ban and asset freeze, told Reuters: "Personally, I don't feel any restrictions. I have travelled around lots of European countries and don't plan to travel there in the near future. I don't have any assets there either."

He added that wealthy Russians should move money from Cyprus to Crimea to create a "civilised offshore zone".

Russian singers booed at Eurovision

Russia's representatives at the Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen were booed when they qualified for the finale, a reflection of Europe's growing anger at Vladimir Putin.

Opinion

'Ruscism' is threat to European stability

Only a broad anti-Putin coalition, led by the UK and the US, which is prepared to take real economic and military counter-measures, can save peace in Europe.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  2. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  3. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  4. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  5. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  6. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia
  7. Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe
  8. Spitzenkandidat system 'difficult to get rid of', hopes lead MEP