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Russia Terminates Mistral Warship Contract, Opts for Refund

Russia ordered the ships from France in 2011, but Paris suspended the delivery of the helicopter-carrying assault ships in response to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.

Russia is no longer negotiating for the delivery of two French-built Mistral-class warships, and is only interested in receiving compensation for the violated 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) contract for the ships, news agency RBC quoted a top Russian official as saying Tuesday.

"It's now a matter of fact that Russia is not taking them [the Mistral ships], and now there is only one discussion — the amount of money which should be returned to Russia," the deputy chairman of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, Oleg Bochkarev told RBC.

Russia ordered the ships from France in 2011, but Paris suspended the delivery of the helicopter-carrying assault ships in response to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Moscow had previously said it must either receive the ships, or compensation.

Citing inside sources, newspaper Kommersant reported two weeks ago that Russia has demanded 1.16 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to cover not only its 893 million euro ($973 million) advance, but additional costs incurred to prepare bases, sailors and helicopters for the ships. France has made a counter-offer of just 785 million euros ($855.5 million), Kommersant reported.

Bochkarev said Russia would construct its own class of amphibious assault ships, but that they would not be copies of the French Mistral class, since Russian naval doctrine takes a different approach to landing troops on foreign beaches. He did not specify how Russian naval tactics differ.

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