In June 20, 2011 STX and USC (Russia's United Shipbuilding Corp.) signed a deal to build a shipyard (in Russia). In negotiations Russia would buy one Mistral outright with 3-4 ships to be built jointly in Russia according to Chief of the Russian General Staff General Nikolai Makarov.
This is moving NATO technology to Russia. First the German military training and equipment company, Reichmetall is building brigade training installations for Russia and now France's Mistral is erecting a shipyard in Russia. Russia's stores of fuel are being used to buy NATO's technology.
There are unanswered questions about the transfer of French military, particularly the SENIT-9 combat system and SIC-21 fleet command system. France is not comfortable delivering those systems. At this point (June, 2011) France and Russia have signed a protocol of intent for the sale of the Mistrals, not a final contract.
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican-Florida), blasted the sale, arguing that it threatened regional security even as Russia was becoming more threatening towards its neighbours.
The former presidential candidate, Vietnam prisoner of war, Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona) said,"I strongly oppose France's sale of the Mistral to Russia...This ship is a threat to some of Amerca's friends and NATO allies, and I worry that this decision could set a troubling precedent within NATO of advanced weapon sales to the Russian government."
In January 2011, Russian media reported that their 1st Mistral class ship will be based in Vladivostok with the Pacific fleet, while the 2nd will be based at Severomork on Russia's northern peninsula. These basing choises lessen the probability of a direct threat to Baltic countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania or Black Sea countries like Georgia, while the ships are being built in France. There is no word where the final two (built in Russia) would be based, though the Baltic and Back Sea fleets be logical possibilities.
One hopes that the Baltics, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and other European countries don't end up in a vise between Russia, German and now France.
It’s bad enough that France is selling its Mistral Invasion Ships