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Russia 'Needs' French Warship

A top Russian military official has said Moscow is close to purchasing a Mistral-class French warship and needs such a vessel to patrol waters around Pacific islands that are the subject of a territorial dispute with Japan.

General Nikolai Makarov, head of the Russian military's chief of staff, was speaking before the defense committee of Russia's upper house of parliament.

Russia's plan to purchase the Mistral has alarmed some of its neighbors.

Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili says his country is concerned about France's plans to sell the warship to Russia.

compiled from agency reports