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Report: Russia Seeks French Armored-Car Deal


MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia is in talks to buy armored vehicles from France, a Russian daily reported today, despite complaints already from some Eastern European NATO members about French plans to sell a warship to Moscow.

The Interior Ministry is discussing with French firm Panhard "a small consignment" of four-person amphibious armored personnel carriers, the "Kommersant" daily reported, citing unnamed French officials.

An Interior Ministry spokesman declined comment.

Plans by Paris to sell military equipment to Moscow have already raised concerns among its NATO allies Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, ex-Soviet republics which fear that any such deal could diminish their security.

Russia is also in talks to buy a 21,300-ton, Mistral-class helicopter carrier from France to modernize hardware that was exposed as outdated during its five-day war against Georgia in 2008.

After months of debate, France announced that it is ready to go ahead with the sale, which would be Moscow's largest foreign military purchase.

The United States has said that East European NATO allies and Georgia had good reason to be nervous about the warship sale.
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