03:47 GMT +321 January 2020
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    The Sevastopol, the second Mistral-class helicopter carrier built for Russia, is slated to begin sea trials in March, according to a representative of the French shipbuilding industry.

    Sevastopol (L) and the Vladivostok warships, two Mistral class LHD amphibious vessels ordered by Russia from STX France in Saint-Nazaire, western France, on December 20, 2014
    The second Mistral-class amphibious assault ship built for Russia will begin sea trials later in March, a representative of the French shipbuilding industry told RIA Novosti.

    "The Sevastopol will begin trials as planned in March, with wharf employees on board. But if a decision is made on the Vladivostok (the first Mistral-class ship, which Russia hasn't yet received), and the crew from Russia comes to Saint-Nazaire, we will have to make a second sea trial, which will bring the wharf additional costs," the representative told the agency.

    The delivery of two Mistral-class assault ships to Russia was agreed under a $1.5 billion deal between Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and French shipbuilder DCNS, signed in 2011.

    France was expected to deliver the first of the two helicopter carriers, the Vladivostok, by November 14, 2014. However, on November 25, French President Francois Hollande stated that the shipment would be suspended due to the alleged meddling of Moscow in the Ukrainian crisis.

    In January, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Russian side did not rule out the possibility of filing a suit against France within six months over its failure to deliver the Vladivostok ship, as the contract conditions remain unfulfilled.


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    France, helicopter carrier, testing, Mistral, Saint-Nazaire
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