A photo taken on May 9, 2014 in Saint-Nazaire, western France, shows the Vladivostok warship, a Mistral class LHD amphibious vessel ordered by Russia to the STX France shipyard. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD
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France will press ahead with a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia because cancelling the deal would do more damage to Paris than to Moscow, French diplomatic sources said on Monday.The United States has been pressing France, Germany and Britain to take a tougher line against Russia. For France, this would mean at least delaying the Mistral contract. France had said it would review the deal in October -- but not before. However, French diplomatic sources said on Monday the 2011 contract with Russia for two Mistral helicopter carriers, with an option for two more, would not be part of a third round of sanctions against Moscow.U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said on May 8 that she had qualms about the French deal after several U.S. lawmakers demanded Washington put pressure on France to send a strong message to Russia.
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