France to refund $1 billion to Russia for warships

AP , Friday 11 Sep 2015

Mistral-class warships
Mistral-class warships (Photo: Reuters)

France will refund 950 million euros ($1 billion) to Russia for the cancellation of the sale of two Mistral-class warships, but won't have to pay penalties, according to legislation published Friday.

In a bill going to France's lower house of Parliament next week, the government detailed for the first time the agreement reached with Russia last month.

The "only condition" laid down by Russia is to receive the money "as soon as possible," the legislation said. The amount includes all advances paid by Russia, but no penalties or compensation payments.

France will be able to sell the warships to another country.

The two ships are currently in the port of the western French city of Saint Nazaire. Their upkeep entails expensive additional costs that the government refused to detail.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are reported to be on top of the list of potential purchasers. Other interested countries include Turkey, Canada , India, Australia and Singapore.

The 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) deal was canceled last year because of the Ukrainian crisis. It was supposed to be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia.

Mistral-class warships can carry 16 helicopter gunships, 700 troops and up to 50 armored vehicles.

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