Monday 29th of May 2017

expensive rust buckets...


two ships

PARIS — For sale: two French-built helicopter carriers, tested by Russians. Buy now for only 1.2 billion euros. Shipping extra.

Tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine have blocked a deal in which Moscow was to buy the ships, leaving Paris trying to negotiate a face-saving compromise and work out what to do with two unwanted warships.

"There are three possibilities: deliver the boats to Russia, sell them to someone else or destroy them," said a source close to the matter.

It is an embarrassment that is not of French President Francois Hollande's making. The deal stems from his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's decision in 2011 to make the West's first major foreign arms sale to Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

But it will be difficult for Hollande politically and underlines the difficulty for France to reconcile its ambitions as a global arms supplier — a sector on which thousands of French jobs depend — with commitments to NATO allies.

It may also be very costly.

At present the delivery of the ships remains indefinitely suspended rather than formally cancelled. But even Russian officials say now that they are not interested in taking the Mistral-class carriers.

Moreover France's NATO allies, notably the United States and Poland — with whom Paris is negotiating 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of defense deals — would be outraged if France tried to get the deal back on track with the crisis in Ukraine far from resolved.

That leaves the Russians demanding not only a full refund but also the penalties that go for pulling the deal.

"That Russia won't take them [the ships] — that's a fait accompli," Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy head of Russia's Military Industrial Commission, told daily Kommersant last week. "There is only one discussion going on now: the amount of money that should be returned to Russia."

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meanwhile in kiev... news you probably won't see on MMMM...


A massive march took place in the streets of Kiev to protest against the policies of the current Ukrainian government, calling for its resignation and economic reforms.

According to TASS news agency, up to 3,000 people took to the streets in Kiev on Saturday to protest against lack of reform and economic instability.

The people carried placards reading “We are hungry,” “Raise pensions” as well as some anti-LGBT slogans as they marched along Khreshchatyk Street to Independence square (Maidan Nezalezhnosty) in central Kiev.


News you probably won't see on your local MMMM (mediocre mass media de mierda).

Mind you, 3,000 people is not many... South Sydney Football Club had 80,000 people protesting in the street at Town Hall, when the club got ejected from the league it has been one of the foundation member of. The ejection had been performed under dubious criteria designed to eliminate clubs like South because they were a community club not owned by big business (including News Corp that "owned" quite a few too many). 

meanwhile in moscow...

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday approved amendments to Russia’s naval doctrine that prioritize the development of Russian positions in strategic seas around the world, according to the Kremlin website.

The updated doctrine takes advantage of a huge injection of funds into Russia's naval strength to shift the emphasis of Russian naval operations toward so-called blue water operations — deployments of naval force far beyond Russian coastal waters into the world’s oceans, with a focus on the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

By focusing on the Atlantic, the amended doctrine asserts the Russian navy’s role as a countering force to what military planners in Moscow see as an encroaching NATO military alliance on Russian borders and interests.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, presented the updated doctrine to Putin on Sunday and cited two reasons for the update: “above all, the changing international situation; and, of course, strengthening Russia’s position as a sea power,” according to remarks posted on the Kremlin website.

President Putin praised the revised doctrine, calling it a vital strategic document “to provide our country with an integral, consistent naval policy that will protect Russia’s interests.”

Retired Russian Navy Commander Maxim Shepovalenko, a military expert at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a Moscow-based defense think tank, said the doctrine indicates Russia was preparing for prolonged confrontation with the West.

“Its updated version [signifies] a long-term standoff with the U.S. and its NATO and major non-NATO allies,” he said.

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A deal has been agreed in which Russia will receive compensation for France's decision last year to cancel the sale of two warships, both countries say.

France will fully refund Russia for the two helicopter carriers. The deal was worth €1.2bn (£838m; $1.3bn) and Russia made an advance payment of about €840m.

The Kremlin says that it now considers the dispute to be fully resolved.

French President Francois Hollande's office said that Russia will be "fully reimbursed" for the two warships.

It said that France will keep both vessels.

The Sevastopol Mistral warship last month underwent its first sea trials

France stopped the planned sale after the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin said that France has agreed to pay back money Russia paid under the contract.

"France has already transferred these funds and, after the return of equipment, will acquire ownership and be able to take charge of both ships," it said in a statement.

The Elysee Palace statement said that all Russian equipment installed on the ships will be removed and handed back to Russia.

The deal was described last year as the biggest arms sale made by a Nato country to Russia.

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your cheese is дерьмо to us...


Russian officials have steamrolled tonnes of cheese, fruit and vegetables, defying public outrage to begin a controversial drive to destroy Western food smuggled into the country.

A spokeswoman for the food safety agency Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement released by the agriculture ministry on Thursday that the flattened cheese - amounting to almost nine tonnes - would be buried underground.

"From today, agricultural produce, raw products and foods, which come from a country that has decided to impose economic sanctions on Russian legal entities or individuals ... and which are banned from import into Russia, are due to be destroyed," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

President Vladimir Putin last week signed a decree ordering the trashing of all food - from gourmet cheeses to fruit and vegetables - that breaches a year-old embargo on Western imports imposed in retaliation for sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Russian television showed officials dumping truckloads of round bright orange cheeses on a patch of wasteland and then driving over them with a steamroller in the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine.

The cheeses arrived from Ukraine in unmarked boxes, but were most likely produced in the European Union, a reporter at the scene said.

Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West, ranging from delicacies such as Parmesan, pate and Spanish hams and to staples such as apples. Food brought in for private consumption is still permitted.

Russia complains that some importers are circumventing the ban by illegally slapping on new labels that claim the food was produced in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries.


Hey... Bravo... You should see what we do to people if they "import" foreign salamis, hidden in suitcases, trousers and underpants, into Australia. Unfortunately, there is a law that forbids the steam-rolling of people, but the salamis will be destroyed in high temperature ovens while the "disgusting importer" will spend the rest of his/her life as a convict — that is to say in debt forever to pay the enormous fine plus a couple of years in the Long Bay gulags. We don't laugh at this sort of thing in this sunny country of ours...

In this country, of protected species that cats kill by the millions and which are poisoned by the billions by Cane Toads that were imported for the benefit of sugarcane farmers, we're even got close to shooting Johnny Depp's dogs for being here illegally.

Smile if you wish but do it discreetly, otherwise they will take your Aussie passport should you have dual nationality — for not being on Turdy's Team OrstralYa...

All this of course is team building as we're now able to make our own Pameggiano (Parmigiano) and cammamberts (Camembert) cheeses in the sub continent of Tasmania


in love again soon...

French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

Mr Hollande has proposed a meeting of the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Paris later this month on the situation in Ukraine.

He said there had been progress in recent weeks in implementing a troubled February peace deal.

But Mr Hollande said several commitments still had to be honoured.

They include holding local elections and implementing decentralisation reforms granting more autonomy to two breakaway pro-Russian areas in the east.

"The process has moved forward. There has been progress in the last few weeks. The ceasefire has almost been respected," Mr Hollande told a news conference in Paris.

Mr Hollande also said he had ordered preparations to begin for air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

The Ukraine talks are to be held ahead of the United Nations' General Assembly, which opens at the end of September.

If local elections are held and decentralisation reform is successful, "then I will ask for sanctions to be lifted," Mr Hollande said, referring to penalties implemented by the EU and US on Russia for backing rebels in Ukraine.

EU sanctions and a subsequent Russian embargo have hurt many French and European companies.

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I don't know if the egyptians paid for the ships...

Egypt’s flag has been raised over the first Mistral amphibious assault ship, which Cairo has purchased from France. Originating from a severed Moscow-Paris contract, the ship and its twin are equipped with Russian electronics.

The warship has been named ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser after Egypt's second president (1954-1970). From the moment it flew Egyptian colors it officially entered the Egypt’s Navy, even though the ceremony was still taking place in Saint-Nazaire, western France.

"We now have advanced capabilities in confronting terrorism within our borders and on our shores," Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhi said at the ceremony.

“The helicopter carrier has been formally handed over to Egypt. Next week it will leave the port and set course towards its final destination,” the spokesman for the DCNS naval defense industrial group, Emmanuel Gaudez, also said as cited by TASS news agency.


The French had to reimburse the Russians... read from top. 

I don't know if the Egyptians paid for the ships... or was it a gift...?

when the ships hit the fan...

The French defense minister lashed at his Polish counterpart for claiming that Egypt had resold French-built amphibious assault ships initially intended for Russia to the Russian Navy. Franco-Polish relations have soured over a failed defense deal.

Polish Minister of National Defense Antoni Macierewicz has claimed that the two Mistral ships that France sold to Egypt after it broke a deal with Russia under pressure from its NATO allies were secretly resold to Russia for a token price of €1.

The Polish minister didn’t cite a source for the story that he told Polish legislators in October, which he apparently picked from Russian social media, where the rumor of a secret deal between Cairo and Moscow was circulating last month.

The rumor was never confirmed, though some sources say Egypt and Russia are reportedly negotiating a deal under which Russia would sell attack helicopters to be flown from the French-made ships.

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