The issue of the Mistral ships was high on the agenda of the Putin-Hollande talks in Yerevan. It’s a fact that France cannot deliver an empty hull and that its electronic systems have been supplied by Thales and Russian companies.
President Francois Hollande of France met with President Vladimir Putin during a recent visit to Armenia for memorial services marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacre. The two leaders discussed the implementation of the Minsk Agreements that were reached by the Normandy format leaders, and the future of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers. French writer and journalist Jean-Michel Vernochet, a full member of the Paris Academy of Geopolitics and the author of two sensational books about the Ukrainian crisis (Ukraine: l'Engrenage and Ukraine: l'Escalade), has granted an interview to Alexander Artamonov, editor-in-chief of the
Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin discussed the results of the Minsk Agreements. From your perspective, what are these results?
The Ukrainian file is rotten through and through. As for France, I can tell you that, according to recent reports, it plans to supply nonlethal weapons to Ukraine. Mr. Hollande really placed an emphasis on this. For those who don’t understand the meaning of “nonlethal”, I can say that it applies to weapons that don’t kill. However, this doesn’t mean that France will only supply bullet-proof vests or tear gas to Ukraine. There is also the issue of the 300 advisors who have arrived in Ukraine allegedly to train the Ukrainian military personnel from the punitive battalions fighting in Donbas. At the same time, the United States intends to supply large amounts of lethal weapons to Ukraine. You need advisors to train soldiers in the use of these weapons. I don’t wish to remind you about the title of one of my recent books, but we are really seeing an escalation on that front.
As the author of popular books about Ukraine, what can you say about Ukraine’s future?
I have expressed my views in my two recent books, Ukraine: l'Engrenage and Ukraine: l'Escalade . These are events that will definitely have political consequences. But I don’t want to be viewed as a false prophet or soothsayer.
What do you think about the Mistral warships, which are getting rusty in Saint-Nazaire, and the French companies that are suffering from the anti-Russian sanctions?
The anti-Russian sanctions have hit the European economy hard, including German, Belgian, French companies, as well as others. The sanctions have certainly affected Russia, but Europe is acting, as usual, contrary to its own interests. It can be assumed that the issue of the Mistral ships was high on the agenda of the Putin-Hollande talks in Yerevan. It’s a fact that France cannot deliver an empty hull and that its electronic systems have been supplied by Thales and Russian companies. These are difficult negotiations, but France is in a state of collapse. There are 6 million unemployed people in the country, not to mention the multitude of social assistance recipients. Of course, France is a rich country, but it won’t be rich forever.
I believe that Mr. Hollande will find a solution. I’ve been told that he did not bring a finished solution [to Yerevan with him] but instead brought a framework solution.
Judging by his interviews before his visit to Armenia, the Mistral ships will be either sold or paid for...
France doesn‘t have that kind of money.
Comment: Try as he may, Francois Hollande cannot deny that trucks with military equipment are moving from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to their intended destination. NATO experts are sparing no effort to train the “brave”Ukrainian nationalists. Why are they doing this? According to Western logic, they are doing this to ensure the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, and the weapons they are supplying will presumably help restore peace in Ukraine. But how will Putin react to this?