Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz’s claims Egypt may agree to sell two amphibious helicopter carriers Mistral to Russia for a token sum of one dollar are “utter nonsense” as the sources cited by the Polish defense ministry are not reliable, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
“I don’t think these sources are reliable. I think that it can be explained by a background of heightened commotion reigning in Warsaw in the recent time. Regrettably, not all are capable of coping with such a backdrop or adequately react to it. It is utter nonsense,” Peskov said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.
Earlier, Macierewicz said that Egypt was prepared to sell to Russia for a token sum of one dollar the two Mistral ships, originally built in France for Russia. The ships in question were eventually sold to Cairo after Paris refused to hand them over to Moscow. Macierewicz, notorious for his critical remarks about Russia, claims he has obtained information about preparations for the handover of Mistrals to Russia from reliable sources.
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov refuted these reports saying they are “nothing but TGIF nonsense.”
France had signed a contract with Russia for building two Mistral ships for the Russian Navy in the summer of 2011. In 2014, Paris froze the delivery of both ships over the situation in Ukraine. The contract was eventually severed in August 2015. Under the agreed arrangement Russia was to have back about 949 million euros and also the Russian equipment installed on the ships. After that France was free to use the ships at its sole discretion.
Egypt agreed to buy the Mistrals shortly afterwards. Moscow and Cairo are currently discussing the supply of communication and control systems for the Mistrals.