We, European citizens of the countries neighbouring Russia, wish to express our misgivings about the French government’s intention of selling “Mistrals” to Russia.
According to Vladimir Vysotsky, the commander of the Russian Navy « A Mistral-type vessel will significantly increase the fighting and maneuvering capabilities of the Russian navy. During the events of August 2008 (the Russo-Georgian war), this ship would have enabled the Russian fleet in the Black Sea to carry out its mission in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours».
We want to remind the French government that, in violation of an agreement signed with the President of France, Russia is still occupying parts of Georgia.
The Russian leaders have repeatedly threatened to dismember the Ukraine and to intervene in neighbouring states in defence of “Russian-speaking” citizens. Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council, has recently stated that
“in critical national security situations, one should not exclude a preventive nuclear strike against the aggressor”,
and that Russia is revising the rules for the employment of nuclear weapons to repel conventionally armed attackers,
“not only in large-scale, but also in a regional and even a local war.”
This year Russia simulated an air and sea attack on Poland and Lithuania during military exercises.
Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Putin openly stated his intention to annex Georgia to the Russian Federation.
Taking into account these worrying developments, as well as the fact that the Russian leaders are not subjected to any control from their citizens, and that an arbitrary regime is always dangerous for its neighbours, we ask the French government to remember its responsibility for peace and to renounce the sale of “Mistrals” to Russia in the name of European solidarity.