File - Paris is acutely sensitive about the issue because it has a $1.6 billion deal to supply Russia with two Mistral warships.
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NAZAIRE: President Francois Hollande won broad domestic applause Tuesday for defying allies Britain and the United States by confirming plans to deliver a helicopter carrier to Russia, with one backer dismissing the objections as hypocritical.The 1.2 billion euro ($1.62 billion) contract for the two warships, signed by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative government in 2011, was the first by a NATO member country to supply Russia with military equipment.Some 400 Russian sailors arrived in France June 30 to begin training on the first Mistral, named Vladivostok.The warship is built by French state-owned military contractor DCNS and the French shipbuilding company STX. France says the ship can carry 700 troops, 16 helicopter gunships, and as many as 50 armored vehicles.France faces penalties if it does deliver the ships on time. One industry source said France would have to pay back at least 600 million euros if it did not deliver the first Mistral ship.
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