Russian sailors ‘barred from boarding warship’

Reports in France say Russian sailors carrying out training on board a warship in a French port have been barred from boarding the vessel this week. The Ministry of Defence in Paris has refused to comment on the claims.

Russian sailors 'barred from boarding warship'
Have Russian sailors been barred from boarding the Mistral ship? Photo: Franck Perry/AFP

The controversy over France’s €1.2 billion deal to build two Mistral warships for Russia appeared to have taken a new twist this week, with reports that Russian sailors had been barred from boarding one of the helicopter carriers at a French port.

A team of around 550 Russian sailors have been in Saint-Nazaire, western France, for several months to receive training on board the Mistral ship.

However several reports in France this week said the sailors have been refused access to the ship.

Regional French newspaper Ouest-France claimed in an exclusive that “several sources” confirmed that Russian sailors were denied the right to board the ship, which is ready to take to the seas.

The decision was apparently made by French authorities, but no specific reason was given, Ouest France reported.

When contacted by The Local on Tuesday both the Ministry of Defence in Paris and French shipbuilder DCNS refused to comment on the story, saying they would neither confirm nor deny whether it was true.

The reports come as France continues to anger Moscow by delaying the delivery date for the first ship, insisting that with fighting ongoing in eastern Ukraine, the “conditions were not in place” for delivery.

France has been under pressure from both the EU and Nato countries, including the US, not to deliver the ships to Russia given the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

But Paris stands to lose billions of euros in fines and lost revenue if the ships are not handed over.

On Friday, reports said Moscow had handed Paris a deadline for the delivery of the warship and warned of "serious consequences" if it was not met.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Russia announces no New Year’s greetings for France, US, Germany

US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not be receiving New Year's greetings from Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Russia announces no New Year's greetings for France, US, Germany

As the world gears up to ring in the New Year this weekend, Putin sent congratulatory messages to the leaders of Kremlin-friendly countries including Turkey, Syria, Venezuela and China.

But Putin will not wish a happy New Year to the leaders of the United States, France and Germany, countries that have piled unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

“We currently have no contact with them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“And the president will not congratulate them given the unfriendly actions that they are taking on a continuous basis,” he added.

Putin shocked the world by sending troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24.

While Kyiv’s Western allies refused to send troops to Ukraine, they have been supplying the ex-Soviet country with weapons in a show of support that has seen Moscow suffer humiliating setbacks on the battlefield.