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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. For Russia it will be better to get back the money paid for both Mistral amphibious assault ships than see the contract honoured at last, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has told the daily Argumenty i Fakty in an interview.
“What the French may be doing to the ships next if they refuse to hand them over to us is anyone's guess but surely not our headache,” he said. “We want either the ships or the money; to my mind the latter is preferable,” Rogozin said.
He explained that “when the Navy ordered the ships (under Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov) we possibly lacked certain skills, for instance, the know-how of large-block assembly.” However when Russia on November 16, 2013 finished work under a contract with India to deliver The Vikramaditya aircraft carrier for the Indian navy, we showed everybody, including ourselves, that we have mastered large-block assembly procedures,” he said.
“As a person responsible for the technical side of the affair I can say that we will be able to do without the Mistral ships, but we will certainly not agree to stay without our money, which will have to be returned to the last cent plus the penalties and fines.”