France and the United States have exchanged statements on the Mistral ships contract with Moscow. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf has said the United States is concerned about the deal and it believes that the time is wrong for selling the amphibious assault ships to the Russian Federation. The statements were made after French President Hollande confirmed that the deal signed in 2011 is in force to be completed in October. The $1, 2 billion Vladivostok is to join the Russian Navy in 2014 with Sevastopol, the second ship of the class, to be delivered in 2015.
Paris has made its stance precise. It will join sanctions imposed against Russia in case there is a unanimous decision by the European Union but France refuses to take a unilateral action and damage its economic interests just to please Washington and comply with its whims.
By and large it dovetails with the policies adopted by other European partners. For instance, Germany wants more gas coming in through Nord Stream pipeline. Once on German soil, Nord Stream's natural gas goes through the OPAL pipeline system that supplies eastern Germany and connects to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Poland has no plans to suspend meat supplies to Russia. Italy will continue exporting furniture and Spain will go on with selling wine etc. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said South Stream may be excluded from the third energy package. Eastern Europe has its own reasons for concern. A third stage of European Union sanctions against Russia would harm Slovakia's economic growth significantly, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico Thursday at the 2014 GLOBSEC international security forum in Bratislava. «These sanctions would have a considerably harmful effect not only on the European economy, but mainly on the economies of countries that are neighbors of Ukraine», emphasized the Prime Minister. Fico emphasized that solidarity with Ukraine must be expressed throughout the EU, not only by Ukraine's neighbors, citing France's assault ships sales contract to Russia, «We are talking about solidarity here and France is selling warships to Russia», Fico said at the security conference. «We are talking about how to help Ukraine with its energy security and the very same day we were taking fundamental decisions at the European Council, while Russian gas exporter OAO Gazprom signed a contract on South Stream, a pipeline with German, French and Italian companies». He was supported by Prime Minister of Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka and Prime Minister of Hungary Victor Orban. The both said they did not want to lose out on the opportunities provided by doing business with Russia.
Marie Harf told French President François Hollande that the United States wanted the Mistral deal suspended the very same day Russian Energomash was asked by US partners to increase from 29 to 37 the number of unrivaled rocket engines (RD-180s) it sells to propel vital U.S. military and intelligence satellites into space. On May 8 the US Federal Claims Court ended a short-lived ban on domestic firms purchasing the RD-180. The ruling took place after hearing the opinions of the U.S. State, Treasury and Commerce departments that the sales of the RD-180 rocket engine — produced for export to United Launch Alliance, or ULA, a joint-venture between U.S. aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing — did not violate existing U.S. sanctions against Russia. The US will need ten years to produce a similar rocket engine of its own…
This is another good example of well-known US practice of resorting to double standards, something much talked about these days. Washington is obviously trying to push Russia out of Europe, undermine the economic ties between Russia and the United States and make Europeans join the Transatlantic Free Trade Zone (TAFTA) making their economies become overtly or covertly dependent on the US.
According to Italian La Bussola Quotidiana, the US exerts pressure on the European Union in order to achieve three goals: to reduce the European dependence on Russian gas, to make the EU suspend trade ties with Moscow, especially the dual purpose goods, and to make the European Union increase its military spending.
The US wants Europe to use shale gas which is more costly than the Russian pipeline energy supplies. Europeans are to pay for Euro Atlantic solidarity to enrich US energy corporations. In other words, the EU is to pay tribute to the United States. If it does, then who should Moscow talk to in Europe?
If transatlantic partnership presupposes higher gas prices, the European economy will become less competitive increasing its dependence on the United States. Russia will invest into Asia. The implementation of Asian projects will take years. The United States will be an undisputable winner. Now what will the European Union get? Nobody has said anything in concrete terms about it, neither economists, nor politicians.
The Russian military-industrial cooperation has been going upward in recent years: Italy has acquired Lince blast-resistant armored patrol vehicles produced in Russia under license, France has signed a contract for selling two Mistral amphibious assault ships. As in the case of energy sector, the United States pursues the same goal – to squeeze Russia out and make Europeans buy what is produced in America turning the European Union into a market to consume US-made goods.