Russia starts talks to buy French warship
Russia said it had started talks with France for an unprecedented deal to buy a new helicopter-carrying assault warship from NATO-member France.Moscow - Russia said it had started talks with France for an unprecedented deal to buy a new helicopter-carrying assault warship from NATO-member France.
"We are carrying out negotiations" for the purchase of the Mistral naval ship, Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin told the radio station Echo of Moscow.
The Russian defence ministry had said in late August that it was looking to buy the vessel -- announcement which experts said reflects Kremlin efforts to accelerate military modernisation.
A source close to the matter told the RIA-Novosti news agency on Tuesday that talks were expected to be completed this month.
The Russian government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported last month that the ship, which can carry 16 heavy helicopters, 470 airborne troops and other gear, costs EUR 700 million (USD 995 million).
Russia routinely made substantial weapons purchases from suppliers in the West in tsarist and Soviet times prior to World War II, notably during Stalin's modernisation drive in the 1930s.
But the planned deal with France is unprecedented since World War II both in terms of the size of the equipment in question and given Russia's insistence since the war on producing all military hardware for its own use and export.