Probability of Mistral-class ships' delivery very low - source

Russian military-technological cooperation agencies are still discussing the delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers with France but their optimism is meager, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

Russian military-technological cooperation agencies are still discussing the delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers with France but their optimism is meager, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

"We make contact with the French partners from time to time. The contacts show that there is practically no hope to resolve the situation and to procure the Mistral-class ships for Russia. I would say the chances are 99 to one. However, this is absolutely not dramatic," the source said.

Russia will be happy if France returns the money it has spent on the ships, he added.

"Combat readiness of our fleet will not be damaged by that "sequestration"," the source noted.

Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships.

Russia was due to procure the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, in the middle of November of 2014, but France refused to fulfill the agreement over the Ukraine situation under the pressure from NATO allies, primarily the United States.

The 1.2 billion euro contract for building two helicopter carriers was signed in June 2011.

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