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Poland pressures France over Mistral deal with Russia

media Anti-missile system SAMP/T by Thales, in Kielce, southern Poland, 2 September 2014. Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Poland said on Monday that the possibility that France could supply Russia with a Mistral warship makes it difficult for Warsaw to opt for French missile shields.

"I can't hide the fact that the Mistral issue is not helping us make positive decisions about French missiles shield suppliers" said Polish defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak in an interview published on Monday in the daily Rzeczpospolita.

Poland in June chose the French defence company Thales and its American rival Raytheon as the final two bidders for its new missile shield system worth than 5.8 billion euros.

But Poland, which fears the escalation of the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, is critical of the French Mistral transaction with Russia.

It warned that it might choose American Patriot-type missiles, although Siemoniak defended himself against "playing a role of someone setting conditions for France".

"I am confident that France will make a wise decision,"he added.

Amid widespread criticism by Nato, France said earlier in September that it had suspended the delivery of the two Mistral warships to Russia until October.

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