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Russia abandons Mistral warship deal with France

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The Russian government says it no longer wants 2 Mistral-class warships from France.

Under the contract with a French shipbuilder, one of the amphibious assault ships was due to be delivered to Russia last October. But the French side delayed the delivery over the tense situation in Ukraine.

The deputy head of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, Oleg Bochkarev, said on Tuesday the only discussion topic now is about the amount of money that should be returned to Russia.

He indicated that Russia planned to construct its own amphibious assault ships.

Russia signed the contract with the French shipbuilding firm in 2011 to buy the 2 vessels for 1.2 billion euros, or about 1.3 billion dollars.

A leading Russian daily, Kommersant, reports that Russia is demanding about 407 million dollars more in compensation than the amount offered by the French company.

Russia says the French side should refund the amount paid by Russia and pay the cost of training crewmembers and preparing bases for the ships.

Japan has voiced concern that the deal could affect security in East Asia, as Russia had decided to deploy the warships in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.

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