Russian Sailors Continuing Mistral Training: French Foreign Ministry
15:05 18.11.2014(updated 17:02 18.11.2014)
The French Foreign Ministry spokesman announced that Russian sailors are keeping on their preparation for sailing a Mistral-class ship.
PARIS, November 18 (Sputnik) – Russian sailors are continuing their training for the Mistral-class helicopter carrier in the French city of Saint-Nazaire, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said Tuesday.
"As far as I know the Russian sailors are continuing their training, their preparations are continuing," Nadal said at a briefing.
On Monday, French newspaper Ouest-France reported that the future Russian crew of the French-built Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok, undergoing training in France, have been denied access to the ship. The decision has allegedly been taken by French authorities.
Some 550 Russian sailors, with 400 of them the future crew of the Vladivostok helicopter carrier and 150 crewmembers of the Smolny training ship, arrived in the French port town of Saint-Nazaire in June. The first sea trials of the Vladivostok with a Russian crew aboard took place on September 13.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The ships, capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 troops, are expected to join Russia's Pacific Fleet.
The handover ceremony of the first ship, the Vladivostok, was scheduled for November 14; however, the event has not taken place.
French President Francois Hollande earlier threatened to suspend the deliveries of the ships to Russia over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. A high-ranking defense source told RIA Novosti last week that Russia will wait until the end of November for Paris to hand over the ship before making 'serious claims.'
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