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12:10 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russia to sign deal for 2 more French warships by yearend

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Russia will sign a contract with France for the third and fourth Mistral-class amphibious assault ships before the end of this year, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday.

Russia will sign a contract with France for the third and fourth Mistral-class amphibious assault ships before the end of this year, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday.

"I believe we should complete the negotiating process and have these contracts signed before the end of the year," he said.

The two new warships will be built in Russia, he added.

Russia is also buying related technology and has two crews being trained in France, the minister said.

Russia and France signed a $1.7 billion (1.2 bln euro) contract in June on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, which includes the transfer of sensitive technologies.

The helicopter carriers are due to enter service with the Northern and the Pacific fleets in 2014 and 2015.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.