French defense minister calls Russia strategic military partner

© RIA Novosti . Aleksey Danitchev / Go to the mediabankA Mistral-class ship
A Mistral-class ship - Sputnik International
Russia and France are strategic military partners, the French defense minister said Monday

Russia and France are strategic military partners, the French defense minister said Monday.

"Russia and France are strategic partners in the sphere of military and technical cooperation; we have achieved much but will not stop at this. We have many points of contact," Herve Morin said when visiting a Russian exposition at the Eurosatory 2010 defense industry exhibition in Paris.

Morin said he hopes cooperation will continue.

Eurosatory opened on Monday and will close on Friday. It has been held every two years since 1992. Eurosatory's total area is 110,000 square meters. This year, 1,200 participants from 52 countries are expected.

Russian state-owned hi-tech corporation Rostekhnologii (Russian Technology) is the organizer of the Russian exposition at the Eurosatory show.

More than 30 Russian companies are taking part in the show, including Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport, which presents modern tanks, infantry vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers.

A spokesman for the show organizers told RIA Novosti that Vladimir Popovkin, a deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, will attend Eurosatory on Monday and hold talks with French companies. Talks on a Mistral purchase contract are also expected to be held.

Russia is negotiating the purchase of at least one French-built Mistral-class ship and plans to build three more vessels of the same class in partnership with the French naval shipbuilder DCNS.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

The Russian military has said it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific Fleets.

PARIS, June 14 (RIA Novosti)

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