A United Arab Emirates government official has confirmed to Defense News the government’s interest in acquiring one of two French Mistral-class amphibious assault ships originally ordered by Russia in 2011.

France and Russia last month reached a political agreement to cancel the Mistral deal and Paris is paying back Moscow’s advance payments on the two warships. France paid Russia more  than US $1 billion in compensation for the non-delivery.

“Our interest in purchasing the ship is real, it fulfils the capability requirements for our forces,” the government source said. “The Mistral ships are in line with our equipment and capabilities.” […]