An ill wind : How the sale of Mistral warships to Russia is undermining EU arms transfer controls

In 2011 France agreed a contract to supply Russia with two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships with an option for two more to follow. This was the first major arms sale to Russia by a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) state. Controversial at the time it was agreed, the recent deterioration in relations with Russia because of the Ukrainian crisis has returned the Mistral sale to the spotlight, with forthright opposition to the deal from around the European Union (EU). Until recently France has appeared determined to proceed, apparently for economic reasons and because of fears that, if it were to cancel, this would damage its reputationas a ‘reliable supplier’ of military equipment. Even an EU arms embargo on Russia, introduced on 31 July 2014, failed to prevent the sale as it does not apply to pre-existing deals...

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