France's Mistral helicopter carrier on Monday made a port call in St. Petersburg, a Russian Navy spokesman said.
Russia is seeking to buy a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, worth 400-500 million euros and the ship arrived in Russia's second city to be shown off to military personnel and the public.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit France on November 26-27, when a final decision on the purchase is expected to be made.
A new warship could be built at the STX shipyard in France in partnership with the French shipbuilder DCNS.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on October 1 that France would sell Russia a warship if the two countries were able to reach an agreement. He did not elaborate on what kind of political accord or agreement was involved.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said on September 19 Russia was seeking technology to boost its shipbuilding industry by buying the ship.
He added that Russian shipbuilders strongly opposed the deal and that the government had yet to make a decision on whether Russia needs to build costly carriers.
The Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 soldiers. The vessel is equipped with a 69-bed hospital and can be used as an amphibious command ship.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, said in August that Russia had plans to buy three or four ships of the same class to be jointly built in Russia.
ST. PETERSBURG, November 23 (RIA Novosti)
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