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France to hand over first Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia on Nov.14

October 29, 2014, 16:41 UTC+3

Russian arms exporter has received an invitation to arrive in Saint-Nazaire on November 14 for the Vladivostok ship delivery

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©  EPA/Marcus Brandt

NOVO-OGARYOVO, October 29. /TASS/. The first Mistral helicopter carrier will be handed over to Russia by the French side on November 14, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday.

“Rosoboronexport has received an invitation to arrive in Saint-Nazaire on November 14 where there are 360 Russian navy sailors and 60 instructors for training new crews, to hand over the first Vladivostok ship and for putting afloat the second ship,” Rogozin said.

Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, said technically the contract is performed as normal.

“We proceed from this, and as for political decisions, we assume that France should defend its own reputation itself, as a reliable partner, including in the issues of military cooperation,” the official said.

Rogozin, Russia's former envoy to NATO, said he had witnessed in Brussels attempts of Americans and Eastern Europeans to pressure the French.

“The French have always answered that for them this is a litmus test of their national pride and sovereignty,” he stressed.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in the French capital on Tuesday that France will decide on delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers for Russia in November.

“The French president has stated earlier that if the political situation does not improve he will not permit delivery of helicopter carriers,” Le Drian recalled.

He denied specifying whether the French leadership found the current political situation inappropriate to permit the delivery. “The president will make a decision within November,” the defense minister said.

The €1.12 billion contract on constructing helicopter carriers by France for Russia’s Navy was signed in June 2011. The contract provides for the delivery of two warships fully furnished with the navigation and technological equipment, including the license documentation. The ships, named Vladivostok and Sevastopol, are being built at France’s Saint-Nazaire shipyard. The delivery of the Vladivostok ship to Russia was scheduled for November 1, 2014, and Sevastopol - by November 1, 2015.

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