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Russia and France Have Drafted Agreement on Mistral Warships – Report

The two Mistral-class helicopter carriers Sevastopol (L) and Vladivostok are seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France, on Dec. 23, 2014.

After months of negotiations, Russia and France have prepared a draft agreement on compensation for the failed Mistral warship deal, news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday, cited an unidentified source involved in Russian international defense industry cooperation.

“The two governments must put their signatures on the draft document, which was agreed upon by expert delegations from Russia and France. It is ready to be signed,” the source told RIA Novosti.

France last year decided not to deliver the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers that were to be built for the Russian navy under a 1.2 billion euro ($1.34 billion) contract signed in 2011. Paris said it could not hand the ships over due to Moscow's support for separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine, in response to which the EU had imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

Russia has demanded France honor the contract or reimburse Moscow for the ships. The two sides have agreed in principal on a refund for the failed deal, but have been haggling for months over exactly how much is owed.

Although the two sides now appear close to signing an agreement, the sum that Moscow will receive in compensation has not been publicly stated.

Citing unidentified sources, the Kommersant newspaper reported in early May that Paris was prepared to pay Moscow around 800 million euros ($895 million) in damages.

However, Russia insisted France should pay 1.16 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to cover both its 893 million euro ($999 million) advance and additional costs incurred in preparing bases, sailors and helicopters for the warships, the report said.

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