Helicopter carrier built by the French for Russian navy gets first test run

The Vladivostok helicopter carrier

A French-built warship designed to strengthen Russia’s ability to deploy helicopter gunships, troops and tanks is preparing for its first test run today.

The test of the Vladivostok helicopter carrier comes just as Western powers threaten economic sanctions in the hope of reining in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military threat to Ukraine.

The warship is part of a €1.2billion deal that marked the biggest-ever sale of Nato weaponry to Moscow – a deal that raised eyebrows in Russia and the West when it was struck in 2011.

The French government’s priority is reviving the economy and battling unemployment, and the deal with Russia underpins some 1,000 jobs.