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France offers Russia refund on undelivered Mistrals, report

media Russian sailors in Saint-Nazaire last year to train on the Mistrals Reuters/Stephane Mahe

France has offered to pay Russia 785 million euros to scrap a contract for two Mistral helicopter carriers, whose sale has been suspended over the Ukraine conflict, on condition that it can sell them to another country, a Moscow newspaper reported Friday.

The documents are now "being studied" by the Russian government, defence ministry and other relevant parties which participated in the 2011 deal, Russian defence sources told Kommersant newspaper.

Paris is ready to pay back almost 785 million euros if Moscow gives a written agreement that they can be sold to a third party, the paper reports.

But the same sources said that the Kremlin claims that it would lose 1,163 billion euros on the deal and is refusing to agree to the resale until it has been paid.

The contract, estimated to be worth 1.2 billion euros, was agreed in 2011 under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy and one of the boats, Vladivostok, should have been delivered last November.

Paris announced that month that delivery had been put off indefinitely because of Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

The Vladivostok and the other boat, the Sebastopol, are currently in the French port of Saint-Nazaire.

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