MOSCOW, July 26 (RIA Novosti) – The construction of a Mistral-class carriers base in Russia’s Far East port of Vladivostok will be completed by next year’s fall, a senior Defense Ministry official said on Saturday.
“This will be an entire complex with permanent garrisons, units of service support and fueling. We will complete the construction next fall and will inform the president,” Roman Filimonov, the head of the Defense Ministry’s construction department, told Russian News Service (RSN) radio.
Earlier this week, the US State Department has once again criticized France for sticking to the Mistral contract. UK Prime Minister David Cameron also criticized Paris sharply for its plans to sell Mistral ships to Russia and called the deal “unthinkable.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday, that Paris doesn’t call into question compliance with its obligations under the Mistral helicopter carriers deal signed with Russia.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011.
Under the contract, the first ship, the Vladivostok, is to be delivered to Russia by the end of the year, while the second, the Sevastopol, is due in 2015.
The vessels are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers each, and are expected to be deployed with Russia’s Pacific Fleet.