Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas said his country should deliver the Mistral class helicopter carriers to Russia.
Speaking on Monday morning in a live broadcast on RMC radio, the former politician called the sanctions imposed by France on Russia a gross mistake.
Roland Dumas is a lawyer and French Socialist politician who served notably as Foreign Minister under President François Mitterrand from 1984 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1993. He was also President of the Constitutional Council from 1995 to 1999.
Earlier on Monday France’s Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told the same RMC radio station that the issue of delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia was not on the agenda.
In January the Defense minister said that a “completely respected ceasefire” in Ukraine and a political roadmap in the country were the conditions for fulfilling obligations of the contract between the countries.
French President Francois Hollande said, following last week meeting in Minsk, that there were no conditions for delivering the warships to Russia despite new agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.
In 2011, Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and French shipbuilder DCNS agreed a $1.5 billion deal on the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia.
Paris was due to deliver the first helicopter carrier last November, before the delivery was halted. Hollande said the shipment was suspended due to Russia’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Russia now expects France to either deliver the warships or return the money.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in January that Moscow could file a court case against France in the next six months over the failure of Paris to deliver the first Mistral ship.
According to Russian experts, Paris could face penalties as high as $10 billion if it fails to fulfill its contractual obligations over the Mistral order.