WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the announcement by the French government to postpone the sale of Mistral-class ships to Russia:
“France’s indefinite postponement of the delivery of the Mistral ships to Russia is very good news. Russia wants to get back to business as usual with countries across Europe. By taking this step, a vital NATO ally has sent astrong message that Russian aggression is incompatible with being a partner on the global stage. At the same time, front-line countries in Eastern Europe should breathe a bit easier knowing these assets will be kept out of Putin’s hands.
“The United States and our western allies should look for a way to spare France the financial hit that could accompany this courageous step. I have repeatedly encouraged NATO to lease or buy the Mistral ships. Whether by that course or another, we need to stand together with France and help ease the burden they risk taking on. This sort of shared responsibility and unified action is essential—now and in the days ahead—to respond to Russia’s blatant ambition for expanding its power in Europe.”