The Open Dialogue Foundation, an organisation which defends human rights and supports democratic processes in post-Soviet countries, hereby expresses its utmost concern over the 2011 contract signed by France for the sale of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (BPCs) to the Russian Navy.
In view of the continuously deteriorating situation in Ukraine, caused by the destabilising actions of the Russian Federation, the decision of the French authorities is highly incomprehensible to us. France has approved the visit of 400 Russian marines to the port of Saint Nazaire, scheduled for the beginning of June, 2014. The marines are to undergo training in operating the amphibious assault landing ship, Vladivostok – the first of two Mistral-class units, ordered by the Russian Navy. We hereby urge the French Government to immediately cancel the scheduled training of the Russian marines, due to commence at the beginning of June, 2014.
In this time of tension, in which the uncertainty increases with each passing day, the Russian authorities have repeatedly demonstrated their disrespect for the provisions of international law, which has been most clearly manifested in the annexation of the Crimea. Thus, we hereby appeal to the French Government to take firm action by cancelling the contract for the sale of warships within the framework of the sanctions imposed on Russia by France. We are aware of the potential costs which the French state and French companies may subsequently incur in connection with such a decision. Nevertheless, we urge France to take decisive steps in order to prevent Russia from using the French warships and Russian marines, trained by their French colleagues, in any operations which would pose a serious threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty.