30 May 2014, 14:49

Rosoboronexport never received US senators' statement on purchase of helicopter carriers

Rosoboronexport never received US senators' statement on purchase of helicopter carriers

Russia and France are in full compliance with their obligations on the construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy, an official representative of Rosoboronexport, Vyacheslav Davidenko, told Interfax on Friday.

According to him, Rosoboronexport has not received any documents in connection with the proposal of a group of American senators to redeem these vessels for NATO. "American senators should not forget that these ships are built not only by French, but also by Russian shipbuilders. It is common knowledge that the stern of the Mistrals was built at the Baltic Plant in St. Petersburg," said Davydenko.

He pointed out that in the coming weeks, crews of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers will sail to the French Saint-Nazaire on board the Smolny training ship in order to start mastering the helicopter carriers on-site.

Rosoboronexport and the French company DCNS signed a contract on constructing the first two helicopter carriers in June, 2011. The United Shipbuilding Corporation is involved in this deal as a subcontractor of the French shipyard STX France in Saint-Nazaire. According to unofficial data, the cost of the contract amounts to 1.2 billion euros.

American Congressmen urge NATO to buy Russia's military ships

American Congressmen have submitted an official letter to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, requesting for him to buy or rent the Mistral amphibious assault ships, which are being built for Russia, Reuters says.

A 1.2 billion euros contract for the creation of two Mistral amphibious assault ships was signed by France and Russia on June 2011. The first ship called "Vladivostok" is to be handed over to the Russian Navy in 2014, while the creation of the second one "Sevastopol" is to be finished in 2015.

Congressmen say that the acquisition of the ships will reinforce the military potential of NATO, while many member-countries of the organization are cutting their defense budgets and reassuring NATO partners in Central and Eastern Europe. "The purchase of the ships will show Russian President Vladimir Putin that NATO won't tolerate his imprudent actions," Reuters says, citing the letter. Michael Turner, Head of American delegation at NATO Parliamentary Assembly Reuters, and Eliot Engel, member of the Foreign policy Congress committee, are among the authors of the letter.

The French government has repeatedly claimed that it would fulfill the contract with Russia. A representative of Russian JSC Rosoboronexport has said that Russia is following the payment schedule, while France is following the building schedule. At the beginning of May, American authorities avowed that they were against the contract; however, according to The New York Times, the US has been expressing its concern over the contract since 2009.

Aleksandr Vitko, commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, said earlier that the ships may be deployed to the Black Sea. However, a representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation said the plans of the ships' use hadn't changed and they would be used by the Russian Pacific Fleet.

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