Sanctions? What Sanctions? Paris Arms PutinPosted: May 14, 2014
For NRO, John Fund writes: France has decided to ignore pleas from the U.S. and its other NATO allies and go forward with a $1.7 billion contract to sell two helicopter carriers to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. “The contract has been paid and there would be financial penalties for not delivering it,” a French official told Reuters on Monday. “It would be France that is penalized. It’s too easy to say France has to give up on the sale of the ships. We have done our part.”
The French decision makes a mockery of the attempt to impose sanctions on Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea in March, the first forcible shifting of borders in Europe in more than 60 years.
It’s not hard to figure out why the Russians want the carriers. They purchased them just after invading Georgia in 2008. Russia’s lack of a mobile platform for delivering troops had hurt it badly during that brief conflict. In a 2011 report on the invasion, the Strategic Studies Institute, an arm of the U.S. Army War College, found that Russia had used helicopters to insert Spetsnaz commandos in black uniforms behind Georgian lines to conduct subversion and espionage. Putin used the same tactics in Crimea this month. But Russia’s experience in Georgia, in which aircraft had landed on the coast, had “highlighted the need for improvements in the area of amphibious landing platforms,” the SSI report noted. “The limitations in this capability exposed by the war were certainly part of the reason for Russia’s recent decision to buy Mistral-class ships from France. The Mistral, a multi-role ship capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, 70 armored vehicles, and up to 450 personnel represents a significant improvement over current Russian helicopter carriers and landing craft.”
A Russian admiral later said he could have won the war in “40 minutes instead of 26 hours” if he had had them earlier…(read more)
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist at National Review Online.
- France to Go Ahead With $1.66 Billion Sale of Helicopter Carriers to Russia (matthewaid.com)
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- France: Allies must make sacrifices over Russian sanctions (worldbulletin.net)
- Former Russian PM Tells Washington to Hit Putin with Sanctions Where It Hurts (pjmedia.com)
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