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French MPs okay €950mln payment to Russia for canceled Mistral deal

September 17, 2015, 13:35 UTC+3 PARIS
During the debate, the MPs sharply criticized French President Francois Hollande for the decision to cancel the contract with Russia which they said dealt a blow to the country’s budget
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© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

PARIS, September 17. /TASS/. The National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, on Thursday approved a draft law on the €949.7 million ($1 billion) compensation payments to Russia for the terminated contract on the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers.

The Senate will consider the draft law on September 30.

The document was largely backed by the Socialist deputies, while the representatives of the Republicans centre-right party voted both "yes" and "no."

During the debate, the MPs sharply criticized French President Francois Hollande for the decision to cancel the contract with Russia which they said dealt a blow to the country’s budget and the image as a business partner.

The Left Party coalition, consisting of communists, has voted against the draft law.

The draft law envisages compensations in full to Russia for the sum of €893 million it paid France for building the two helicopter carriers. Paris will also pay Moscow €56.7 million for additional expenses on personnel training and equipment for Mistrals. The compensations will total €949.7 million.

In early August, Russia and France reached an agreement to officially terminate the contract. Under the deal, Russia gets the money and the equipment back, and France will then be able to use the warships.

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.

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