France - Russia

Russian navy says French warship sale depends on tech transfer

AFP

Russia's top naval commander, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, on Saturday insisted that Franceh must hand over technology if it wants a proposed sale of Mistral-class helicopter carriers to go ahead.

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On Friday French President Nicolas Sarkozy assured shipyard workers that the sale is “certain”.

But Vysotsky told Echo of Moscow radio that there is no point in the deal if there Russia does not obtain “key, fundamental technologies... not just in shipbuilding but in several other areas".

"We do not need the ship but we do need its possibilities,” he said. “We need its equipment. The point of the ship is in its absolute multi-functionality.”

The deal would be the first sale of advanced military hardware to Russia by a Nato country. It has worried some ex-Soviet states, such as Georgia, as well as some lawmakers in the United States.

The ships cost around 500 million euros each and Russia would purchase up to four of them and obtain the right to manufacture more in its own shipyards.

Vysotsky confirmed that the deal is now being overseen by one of Russia's most powerful figures, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who is a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
 

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