MOSCOW, October 25. /TASS/. Under a naval construction program, Russia will be building its own helicopter carriers, a deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy said on Saturday in comments on the Mistral ship deal with France on hold over Ukraine.
“We don’t depend on France, it was one of military-technical cooperation contracts, nothing more, and the construction of ships of this kind is planned in the shipbuilding program, they will be built at Russian enterprises,” Rear Admiral Viktor Barsuk, in charge of armament issues, told Echo of Moscow radio on Saturday.
Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro deal for the delivery of two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first vessel, the Vladivostok, was floated out in October 2013. It was due to be transferred to Russia this autumn, but the transfer is still pending amid sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine.
The second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to be delivered in 2015. France will have to pay Russia a penalty fee if it fails to fulfill the contract.
Russia came under Western sanctions, originally visa bans and asset freezes, for incorporation of Crimea in mid-March after a coup in Ukraine in February. Later, Western claims that Russia is taking part in hostilities in southeast Ukraine, which Moscow has repeatedly denied, resulted in more serious, sectoral, restrictions.