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French builder of Mistrals for Russian Navy refuses to take part in defence show in Russia

June 26, 2015, 19:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
DCNS's chief spokesman says the company will not comment on this decision
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© AP Photo/David Vincent

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. France’s DCNS, the builder of Mistral helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy, has refused to take part in the International Maritime Defence Show-2015 (IMDS) in Russia’s St. Petersburg on July 1-5, DCNS chief spokesman Emmanuel Gaudez told TASS on Friday.

"The company confirms it will not take part in the IMDS-2015 in St. Petersburg. We will not comment on this decision," he said, adding that the company had taken part in the previous such show in 2013.

Alexander Koloskov, a deputy director general of Morskoy Salon Co, the organizer of the exhibition, told TASS DCNS had been officially invited to take part. "The IMDS-2015 organizational committee sent official invitations to all participants in the previous show, including to DCNS," he said. "We know nothing about the reasons of the refusal."

Russia-France Mistral contract

The contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy to a sum of €1.12 billion was signed in June 2011. The contract stipulated for the construction of two Mistral class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy. The first warship — the Vladivostok — was to be handed over to Russia in autumn 2014 but the French side postponed the delivery citing Moscow’s stance in regard to the conflict in Ukraine.

Built by France’s DCNS for the Russian Navy, the second Mistral helicopter carrier — the Sevastopol — is a universal assault helicopter carrier capable of performing the tasks of shipping troops and cargoes, landing troops and acting as a command post. It can accommodate up to 900 troops and carry up to 16 heavy or 32 light helicopters and four landing boats. The keel was laid down on June 19, 2013 and the vessel was floated out on November 20, 2014. It has been undergoing manufacturer’s trials at Staint Nazaire shipyards since March 16, 2015.

Under the contract, the Russian Fleet expected it in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case of the first Mistral ship. Earlier, Paris repeatedly said that the deal would be closed only when the conflict in southeastern Ukraine was settled.

Infographics Mistral helicopter carrier Mistral helicopter carrier
Russia will purchase Mistral-class helicopter carriers from France. Infographics by TASS

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