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10:34 AM, September 15, 2014
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The Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, carrying some 200 Russian sailors on Saturday left the French port of Saint-Nazaire to pass a series of tests, according to Ria Novosti.

The testing marks the ship goes to sea since its arrival to Saint-Nazaire in June.

DCNS and Rosoboronexport signed a $1.6 billion contract to supply Russia the Mistral-class in June of 2011.

The first carrier, the Vladivostok is to be operated by the Russian Navy in 2014, while the second ship, the Sevastopol will arrive in 2015. While the United States were against the deal, DCNS insisted that Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in Ukraine not prohibit the construction and transfer of Mistral ships, the report added.

Meanwhile, France could cancel the deal with Russia over to its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

“Current conditions will not allow France to deliver the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia”, the office of French President Francois Hollande said last week.

However the contract has not been cancelled and from a legal point of view nothing has changed, the delivery is due November 1, said a French government spokesperson.

“It is a matter of president’s political stance. The head of state said that in the current circumstances, as of today - and if these circumstances do not change – he would not approve delivery of the Mistral,” Ria Novosti said quoting sources.

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