Senators Call On French President To Cancel Warship Delivery To Russia

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called on French President François Hollande to cancel the delivery of two French warships to the Russian Navy and cease future construction of these types of ships for the Russian military. The French Mistral-class warships are built to carry out the type of invasion the Russians carried out in Ukraine earlier this year, resulting in Russia’s increased isolation by the international community. 

 

“Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and other neighboring states has challenged the international community to take a principled stand against those who wish to disrupt the international rule of law and the rights of sovereign nations. In light of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, we are writing specifically to urge you to cancel the delivery of two Mistral-class warships to the Russian Navy and end all cooperation on future construction. Any further arms sales from the French government to the Russian military would enhance Russia’s power projection, ability to intimidate neighboring countries, and illegally seize sovereign territory. Together we must send an unwavering message to the Russian Federation that its actions constitute a direct violation of international law and will not be tolerated.”

 

The senators have also asked the United States government to end its contract with Rosoboronexport – a Russian defense contractor that has its own military contracts with the United States. The senators are calling for this action to send a message to Russia that its violation of international law has major, negative consequences with the United States.

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

June 5, 2014

 

His Excellency François Hollande

President of the French Republic

Élysée Palace

55, Rue du Faubourg

Saint-Honoré

75008 Paris, France

 

Dear President Hollande:

Your state visit to the United States in February highlighted the strong bilateral ties between our two countries and our shared vision for freedom, peace, and security. Since your visit, Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and other neighboring states has challenged the international community to take a principled stand against those who wish to disrupt the international rule of law and the rights of sovereign nations. We thank you for your strong statements publicly condemning these belligerent acts by the Russian Federation. 

                        

In light of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, we are writing specifically to urge you to cancel the delivery of two Mistral-class warships to the Russian Navy and end all cooperation on future construction. These military warships are designed explicitly for the type of invasion that occurred in Ukraine. Any further arms sales from the French government to the Russian military would enhance Russia’s power projection, ability to intimidate neighboring countries, and illegally seize sovereign territory. We fully appreciate that cancelling such contracts may have consequences; similarly, we are urging our own government to suspend its agreements with the Russian defense contractor Rosoboronexport.

 

Together we must send an unwavering message to the Russian Federation that its actions constitute a direct violation of international law and will not be tolerated. We ask that you join us in demonstrating to President Putin, by suspending arms deals with his government, that our nations will not be complicit in altering borders by force. The outcome in Ukraine is critically important to the credibility of free, democratic nations. Again, we thank you for your leadership on this issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

CHRISTOPHER MURPHY

United States Senator

 

RON JOHNSON

United States Senator

 

RICHARD DURBIN

United States Senator

 

JEANNE SHAHEEN

United States Senator

 

AMY KLOBUCHAR

United States Senator

 

EDWARD MARKEY

United States Senator

 

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