MOSCOW, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Two amphibious assault ships Russia bought from France in a more than $1.6 billion deal cannot function in temperatures below 44 degrees, officials said.
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin admitted the ships' shortcomings Saturday, RIA Novosti reported.
"It's very odd that ships for offloading a landing force, floating in our latitudes won't work in temperatures below 7 degrees (Celsius)," Rogozin said in a meeting of the Academy of Military Science.
Rogozin did not explain why the ships would not work in cool temperatures.
Russia and France signed the $1.6 billion deal for two of the Mistral ships, the first of which will be delivered in 2014, in June 2011.
The deal came under fire Thursday when Military-Industrial Commission Deputy Head Ivan Kharchenko described it as "absurd" and alleged it would harm the Russian shipbuilding industry