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US Congress Report: NATO Worries About Russia's Mistral Issue

US Congress Report: NATO Worries About Russia's Mistral Issue 11.05.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: Mistral-class amphibious assault ship. RusNavy.com
The US and their Baltic allies are worried about contract providing that since 2014 France will supply Russian Navy with Mistral-class assault landing ships, reports the US Congress investigation service.

"This is the first ever sales of a significant offensive military capability by a NATO member to Russia... The sales exposed tension within the alliance over NATO's relations with Russia", said the report ordered by US senator Richard Lugar.

According to the report, news about Mistral sales caused a special concern amid the Baltic countries.

Obama's administration also took that news without enthusiasm saying such sales could send the wrong message to some Eastern European countries, the report's authors say.

Being the oldest member of the Senate's foreign committee, Lugar expressed concerns over planned arms deliveries to Russia including contract for two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships tied with French state-led shipbuilding company DCNS, contract with German Rheinmetall for building a training center, and a Russian-Italian contract for joint manufacturing of 60 armored vehicles Iveco.

Lugar is worried that Russia may use some of those armaments to the prejudice of the US and Allies. As was reported by Vzglyad, the contract for construction of two Mistral-class ships in France was signed by Moscow and Paris in June 2011. Contract value was EUR 1.2 bln. The first landing ship for Russia was laid down early Feb 2012 and is planned to join Russian Navy in 2014. The second Mistral is going to be delivered in 2015.

First two Russian Mistral-class amphibious assault ships will bear names of Vladivostok and Sevastopol. All ships will be armed with newest Russian assault and defensive weapon systems including supersonic cruise missiles.

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