Mistral mix-up continues

France hasn’t yet fixed a date for delivery of the first of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia (scheduled for November 14), the French defense minister said. If France doesn’t deliver due to US and NATO pressure, it will have to pay a huge forfeit.

“No delivery date can be fixed at this stage,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, the country’s defense minister told the National Assembly, the lower house of France’s Parliament.

“The president of the Republic has said that a definitive decision will come at the right moment, taking into account all the responsibilities that come with this decision, which is not a simple one,” he added.

On Thursday, reports emerged that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will not attend the ceremony where France hands over the first Mistral ship to Russia at the Saint-Nazaire shipyards. On October 29, he said that Moscow had received an invitation to take delivery.

DCNS, a French industrial group specializing in naval defense and energy, sent the invitations to the ceremony of the ship delivery scheduled November 14, France’s Le Nouvel Observateur magazine wrote on Wednesday. However, the event was canceled.

The outlet managed to take a screenshot of the letter which was sent to a French official.

“When I opened my mail, I fell off my chair,” the official told the magazine on condition of anonymity.

The chief of DCNS would not confirm whether this letter, signed by the export manager, was authentic. The official line is that these invitations were issued by mistake and the project manager was subsequently fired, RT reported.