ETV visits Saint-Nazaire shipyard in France to report on fate of Mistral deal to Russia
One ship is ready, another is nearing completion. Four hundred Russian naval personnel are already in town for the handover. With French president Francois Hollande making a quick trip to Moscow this weekend, questions about the future of France's deal with Russia over two Mistral-class warship are rife.
The Mistral class is a class of assault ship, also known as a helicopter carrier, referred to as a "projection and command ship". While one ship ordered by Russia from France has been completed and another is scheduled to be finished next year, the transaction is now in a state of limbo.
With Russia's role in the occupation of Crimea and the continued fighting in Ukraine, and political pressure exerted on France by its Western allies, France froze the sale last week "until further notice".
A crew from the ERR's main evening TV news visited the port town of Saint Nazaire, France, where the ships are being built, speaking to (or trying to) officials, including Christophe Morel, the trade union representative for the STX shipyard.