MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Russia will not raise the topic of its contract for Mistral helicopter carriers at the forthcoming talks between President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande, because "this is a French problem," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Monday.
"There are preparations for a bilateral Russian-French meeting in Yerevan," he said. "As for the Mistral ships, they are rather a problem for the French side, for a country that has received money from the client and has so far failed to comply with its liabilities."
Peskov said that if the French side mentioned the topic, it would be discussed, of course.
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 Match 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.