Our Bureau
03:30 PM, January 29, 2015

China will pay Crimea the balance $14 million for the purchase of Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft from Crimea's Feodosia Shipbuilding Company and Fiolent plant instead of Ukraine.

In 2009, China had signed a contract worth $315 million for purchase of landing craft from Ukraine. Under the contract, Feodosia Shipbuilding Company and Fiolent Plant were responsible for building two of the craft while the remaining vessels would be built in China.

The first landing craft built in Ukraine was delivered to China in April 2013. But after Crimea joined Russia, the latter demanded China pay remaining $14 million to the two shipbuilding companies in Crimea instead of Ukraine, according to Kanwa Defense Review.

Beijing decided to side with Russia by renewing the contract, according to the report.

"China stands ready to repay the debt to Crimea's Morye Shipyards for the second hovercraft," said Andrei Skrynnik, the Russian-controlled Crimean industry minister, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post on November 24, 2014.

Both nations agreed to scrap the original plan of building two remaining Zubr-class vessels in China. Instead, China has ordered the construction of advanced surface warships for the PLA Navy at shipyards in Russian-controlled Crimea, but at a higher price.

Russia's acquiring of Crimea indicated that China will no longer need assistance from Ukraine. Since the landing craft are crucial to China's island military strategies in both the East and South China seas, China must negotiate with Russia instead of Ukraine regarding the sale of the vessels, the report added.

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