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Mistral class amphibious assault ship

On 23 September 2015, France announced it had reached an agreement with Egypt on principle and terms of the purchase of the two Mistral-class ships initially built for Russia. A government spokesman said France would not take a loss on the sale of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

After eight months of negotiations, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande announced on on 05 August 2015 that they had reached a deal to to terminate the contract for the construction and delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia. As part of the agreement, France fully refunded the sum of 800 million Euros which had been prepaid originally for the vessels. The deal also called for Russian systems already installed on the vessels to be returned to Russia, after which point France would be left with full ownvership and use of the ships. Russia, for its part, stated that it considered the issue to be fully settled.

Once Moscow finally gave up on the Mistral deal, all that remained under discussion was how large of a sum France should pay back to Russia for the failed contract. During the negotiations on the Mistral deal Russia and France discussed only one question — the sum of the compensation. "We switch the conversation to business — give us our money back… We're now discussing just one thing — the exact sum of money France owes Russia," Oleg Bochkaryov, a deputy chairman of the Russian Military Industrial Complex said 26 May 2015.

A group of Russian experts was expected in September 2015 to travel to France for dismantling communications equipment and control helicopter type "Mistral", Tass reported on 04 August 2015 a source in the Russian system of military-technical cooperation. "Now we are preparing a group of experts to carry out the dismantling of the equipment due to the helicopter. They travel to France planned for September this year," - a spokesman said.

Earlier, a source in the military-industrial complex told Tass that Russia had already prepared a team of specialists, who will travel to dismantle the equipment to the "Mistral". The development of control and communication systems for these ships engaged group "Control" (included in the combined instrument-corporation).

France seriously discredited itself by signing a document to cancel the contract for the construction and delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia, Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Front, the third-largest political party in France, said 06 August 2015. "The official termination of the deal on Mistral helicopter carriers [delivery to Russia] is Francois Hollande's serious mistake and causes serious damage to the reputation of France," Le Pen said in a statement.

Mistral - Background

Russian ordered from France two "Mistral" class ships in the summer of 2011. The first helicopter carrier, "Vladivostok", was floated out in October 2013. Vladivostok was planned to transfer the Russian fleet in the autumn of 2014, but delivery had been delayed due to the events in Ukraine.

The second Mistral-class amphibious assault ship built in France under contract with Russia was floated out 20 November 2014. The helicopter carrier, named the Sevastopol, left its dry dock in the French port city of Saint-Nazaire before just a few onlookers. The second ship was also frozen.

France suspended “until further notice” the delivery of a warship to Russia because of the Ukraine crisis. The office of French President Francois Hollande said in a statement 25 November 2014 that the "current situation in eastern Ukraine still does not allow for the delivery” of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier built for Russia.

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