Sarkozy says Russia is to buy at least two Mistral warships
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that Russia would buy at least two Mistral helicoper-carrying warships from France, dpa reported.
Sarkozy told workers at the STX ship-building yard in Saint-Nazaire that they would build "the two BPC (Mistral warships)."
He added that the contract was still being negotiated, "but the decision has been taken, it is certain."
In March, Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in Paris that negotiations had begun over the purchase by Moscow of four Mistral ships. Sarkozy said at the time that he wanted two of the Mistrals to be built in France.
It was not clear if the two ships to be built here were part of the deal and if two more would be constructed in Russia.
The controversial deal has provoked nervousness and consternation in the former Soviet republics, such as Georgia and the Baltic nations, as well as in the United States.
Sarkozy has promised that the Mistrals would be delivered without any military equipment, a constraint Russia has criticized.