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U.S. Damns French Mistral Deal With Russia as 'Completely Inappropriate'

Russian sailors are seen on deck of Russian navy frigate Smolny as it arrives at the Saint-Nazaire STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in western France.

The U.S. has denounced the planned delivery of a French Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia as "completely inappropriate" after last week's downing of a passenger plane killed almost 300 people in Ukraine.

"We don't think anyone should be providing arms to Russia," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday according to a transcript of her remarks published on the department's website.

Though an international probe into the incident is still underway, the West has blamed Russia for the downing of the MH17 over Ukraine, arguing Ukraine separatists in the region are being financed and trained by Russia.

"We obviously don't think the Mistral should go ahead," Harf said. " [I] clearly think it's completely inappropriate. And we've told them they should not do it."

The U.S. has been urging France to cancel the warship carrier deal ever since Russia became involved in Ukraine after mass protests toppled that country's former pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych.

France insists that the planned October delivery of the first Mistral-class ship to Russia should go ahead as scheduled, defying U.S. and British appeals to cancel the deal, though French President Francois Hollande said this week that delivery of the second ship under the same 1.2 billion euro contract would "depend on Russia's attitude."

While EU foreign ministers on Tuesday agreed to toughen sanctions on Russia, they stopped short of imposing a broad arms embargo demanded by some European ministers and backed by the U.S.

"(The downing) should be a wake-up call for the Europeans, quite frankly, that they should do more," Harf said.

The second Mistral ship is supposed to be delivered in 2015, under the contract that France credits with creating 1,000 jobs.

See also:

France tells Britain to Look at Russian Oligarchs in Own Backyard Before Damning Mistral

Read more

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