Engel: NATO can buy French warships not sold to Russia

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested that NATO purchase warships that France decided not to sell to Russia.

The French government announced Wednesday that it would suspend the delivery of the first Mistral-class warship to Russia that had been part of a $1.7 billion deal. The massive warships are capable of holding as many as 700 troops, 60 armored vehicles and 16 helicopters. 

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Engel suggested that NATO could make up for the lost profits of selling the warships to Russia.

"This was a tough choice for France. NATO can lighten that burden and, at the same time, enhance the Alliance’s capabilities by leasing or purchasing these warships," Engel said.

Engel said that France's decision strengthened the opposition against Russian President Vladimir Putin for intervening in Ukraine's civil war.

"As NATO leaders gather in Wales, this decision by the French government sends a strong signal that western democracies are standing shoulder-to-shoulder against President Putin’s aggression," Engel said. "With Russia continuing to foment a crisis in Eastern Europe, we need to keep advanced equipment like the Mistrals out of Putin’s hands."

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