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France to deliver Mistral warship to Russia as scheduled

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French navy Mistral class warship. A DCNS photo

PARIS (BNS): France will go ahead with plans to deliver the first of the two Mistral warships to Russia despite opposition to the deal by key allies US and UK over the Ukrainian crisis, media reports said.

French President François Hollande said the first warship was nearly finished and would be delivered as planned in October.

"The contract was signed in 2011; the boat is almost finished and should be delivered in October," France 24 news channel quoted Hollande as saying.

The US and other countries have called on France to cancel the Mistral contract over suspicions that Moscow is aiding pro-Russian separatists in their fight to wrest swaths of Eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country.

In June 2011 Russia's defence exporting company Rosoboronexport and France DCNS signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

Under the contract, the first vessel Vladivostok is to be delivered in October this year and the second Sevastopol at the end of 2015.

Delivery of the Sevastopol will "depend on the attitude of the Russians," reports quoting Hollande said.

The Mistral class helicopter carrier is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armoured vehicles and 450 soldiers each.

The Russian Mistral will carry upgraded Russian Ka-32 Alligator attack helicopters and is expected to be deployed with the Pacific Fleet.

Tags:

France  Mistral  Warship  Russia  Defence  
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