PARIS — Russia has agreed to buy at least two French assault ships in a deal that would boost Moscow's deployment abilities — shrugging off opposition from the United States and some of Russia's neighbors.
It's one of the largest, if not the largest, military deal between a NATO country and Moscow and a key part of Russia's efforts to modernize its military. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is mindful of the economic and strategic payoffs in closer ties with Russia, despite diplomatic concerns about Russia's intentions.
The Kremlin said in a statement Friday that it "has made its choice" to buy two Mistral-class ships, which cost about €400 million to €500 million ($525 million to $655 million) each. Sarkozy issued his own statement celebrating the deal.