The Canadian military has emerged as a potential destination for the controversial French-built Mistral helicopter carrier ships, built for Russia and now at the center of an international row after France indicated it would not hand them over, in response to international indignation over Russian actions in Ukraine. . . .
Sanctions imposed against Russia did not prohibit the final delivery of the two Mistral ships, but the French president decided that the deal should go ahead only if Russia meets two criteria: one, genuinely observing the ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed rebels that was signed in September; and, two, agreeing to formally resolve the conflict in Ukraine. . . .
It’s unclear whether Hollande has decided if Russia has met the criteria. However, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said at the end of October that Russia has not managed to meet the criteria and the ships should not be delivered. In the wake of those comments, the CEO of DCNS fired Yves Destefanis, the project manager responsible for the delivery of the ships to Russia, saying that he had “caused damaging consequences” to the company.
The Canadian link, first reported by French newspaper Le Monde on Monday, comes at a time when the Canadian military is aggressively modernizing its navy and coast guard. According to French and Canadian sources cited in Le Monde, the Canadian Armed Forces “are now determined to diversify their partners in defense matters,” moving away from their traditional U.S. suppliers.