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PARIS, August 31. /TASS/. France has fully compensated Russia for the sums paid under the Mistral helicopter carrier project, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
"France has fully compensated for the sums paid by Russia under the Mistral project, and also for its expenses on additional equipment development and crew training. It is also returning Russia the equipment supplied for installation on the ships," the French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
As was stated at the French government’s latest meeting, "France will get the full right of ownership to the helicopter carriers and the right to use them at its discretion after this process is over," the spokesman said.
When asked about the amounts paid by Russia under the project, the spokesman quoted the French government’s representative as saying that "the cancelation of the deal will cost less than a billion euros" and added that the exact sum would be reported to parliament.
The €1.12 billion contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011.
Under the contract, Russia was expected to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of 2014. However, Paris suspended the ship’s handover to Russia at the very last moment over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.
It was planned that the second ship dubbed the Sevastopol would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case with the first Mistral ship.
The Mistral-type helicopter carriers have a displacement of 21 tons, the maximum body length of 210 meters, the speed of 18 knots and the range of up to 20,000 miles.
The helicopter carrier can accommodate 450 people in addition to its crew of 180. It carries 16 helicopters, of which six can be simultaneously stored on the flight-deck.
A compartment in the cargo deck can accommodate more than 40 tanks or 70 motorized vehicles. Mistral helicopter carriers are capable of performing four tasks at the same time: receive helicopters, land troops, and act as a command post and a floating hospital.