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Egypt to purchase French Mistral ships built for Russia

By Ryan Maass
The original contract between France and Russia for two Mistral class warships was scrapped by French President Francois Hollande in reaction to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Photo by Norbert Schiller/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8f3279aba8835e96dba8b38279623069/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The original contract between France and Russia for two Mistral class warships was scrapped by French President Francois Hollande in reaction to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Photo by Norbert Schiller/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Egypt has agreed to purchase two Mistral warships from France originally built for Russia, the office of French President François Hollande announced on Tuesday.

The first warship was due for delivery in 2014, and the second in 2015. France canceled the sale after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and supported armed separatists in Ukraine.

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The contract between Russia and France for the two warships was signed by Hollande's predecessor President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2011.

The agreement between France and Egypt comes six weeks after the French government agreed to reimburse Russia for the amount of $1.3 billion.

The Mistral warship is one of three classes of amphibious assault ships in the French Navy, and is informally known as a helicopter carrier. The ship is designed for carrying 16 Tiger helicopters, 13 AMX Leclerc tanks, and 450 soldiers. Alternately, the ship is capable of transporting a single battalion of Leclerc tanks.

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