Sale of French warships to Russia raises alarm in NATO

"Eastern European countries fear the deal ... will let Moscow exert greater control over coastal regions."

From Kim Willsher, the Los Angeles Times:  France is selling at least two warships to Russia in an unprecedented military deal that has angered the United States and other NATO countries.

The French reaction to the sale was jubilation, with the presidential palace’s website declaring, "France’s naval industry has won. …"

A sticking point in the negotiations had been France’s initial refusal to agree to the ships to be fitted with state-of-the-art command-and-control technology.

The Russians told journalists that their "interests in this area had been satisfied" and that Russia would receive the technology to produce the Mistral’s command-and-control system itself. …

North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries along the Baltic Sea are said to be worried, notably Poland and the Baltic states. An unnamed diplomat from one of these countries told Le Monde newspaper: "The damage to France’s image is considerable. The capital of political sympathy that Nicolas Sarkozy has garnered since 2007 in these regions has disappeared with this Mistral business."  (photo:

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