For sale*: 2 shiny new warships (*people called Vlad need not apply)


It was a deal supposed to symbolize the improvement in relations between Russia and the West after the end of the Cold War. But it’s as good a barometer of those relations in death as it was in life.

France has taken back possession of two state-of-the-art ‘Mistral’-class assault ships that it agreed to build for Russia back in 2010, but refused to deliver after Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea and fomented a civil war the east of the country last year.

France is paying heavily for tearing up the contract. Although the two sides have refused to specify the exact amount, reports from both countries say Paris will reimburse over €1 billion ($1.08 billion) in advance payments made over the last few years. Work on the two ships has guaranteed thousands of jobs at a naval dockyard in western France at a time when the country, like…

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