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Egypt made no request for purchase of helicopters for Mistrals — Russian arms exporter

The company’s general director Anatoly Isaikin noted that one of the conditions of delivering Mistrals to Egypt was dismantling equipment on helicopter carriers

MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport has not received official requests from Egypt for purchasing helicopters and equipment being removed from Mistral helicopter carriers, the company’s general director Anatoly Isaikin said on Tuesday.

"If Egypt asks us to install Russian equipment [on Mistrals] or to purchase our helicopters, we will, of course, cooperate. There have been no official requests yet, and it is premature to talk about what could be done in this direction," he told journalists at a briefing.

Isaikin noted that one of the conditions of delivering Mistrals to Egypt was dismantling equipment on helicopter carriers. "The equipment is still on the ships, and our specialists are dismantling it. As soon as dismantling is completed, the French side will be entitled to use the ships as it pleases. If it signs a contract with any country, Egypt in this instance, then it will be an agreement between the two countries," he noted.

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 neighbouring 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.

After a long wait, Russia and France in early August reached an agreement to officially cancel the contract. The French government said in a release then, "the President of the Republic believed that it was not wise to increase the threat and to deliver these two ships" in connection with the situation in Ukraine. After the deal cancellation agreement, it was reported that France was selling both of the Mistrals, built for Russia, to Egypt. It paid about €950 million back to Russia for the dissolution of the contract, with the compensation including Russia’s advance payments totalling almost €900 million. "This has covered all of the costs sustained by Russia," the source said.

Under the deal, Russia gets the money and Russian equipment installed on the vessels back, and France will then be able to use the warships at its own discretion. French media earlier reported that Paris paid Russia €949 million for the Mistral contract cancelation, and the overall sum of payment exceeded €1 billion.