Last updated at 14:45 BST, Monday, 30 June 2014

France to train Russian sailors

Summary

30 June 2014

Four hundred Russian sailors have arrived in France to train on two warships that the French government is selling to the Russian navy. President Francois Hollande has refused to cancel the sale of these ships despite criticism from the United States and other allies.

Reporter:

Christian Fraser

The Eiffel Tower and the French flag

France has resisted international criticism over the sale of warships to Russia

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This is a deal worth €1.2 billion to France - not to mention the jobs.

But it sorely undermines France's position - they've been one of the countries pushing Germany to take a tougher line with Russia over the recent unrest in eastern Ukraine.

President Obama has made his feelings clear. "It would have been preferable," he said, "to press the pause button".

The Hollande government says the current sanctions agreement doesn't cover military hardware and the contract, signed by President Sarkozy's government in 2011, is too expensive to cancel.

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Vocabulary

sorely

extremely, very much

undermines

makes (someone or something) less confident or effective

to take a tougher line

to deal with someone or something in a stricter or firmer way

unrest

fighting or violent behviour by people who are protesting against something

to press the pause button

to stop doing something for a short time (as if pressing 'pause' on a TV remote control)

hardware

equipment, tools, machines and vehicles used in a particular area, for example, the military

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