Egypt just bought those 2 French warships that were originally meant for Russia

Egypt has agreed to buy two Mistral-class warships from France, the French government said Wednesday, announcing its second military sale to the economically-strapped country this year.

The assault ships, which can each carry 16 helicopter gunships, 700 troops and up to 50 armoured vehicles, were originally intended for Russia.

France will refund Russia 949.8 million euros ($US1 billion), Le Monde reports.

France continued building to Russia’s specifications — including stenciling Cyrillic writing throughout the vessels — until the deal finally fell apart because of the Ukrainian crisis.

It was originally supposed to be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia.

France didn’t say how much Egypt agreed to pay, but denied losing money in the transaction.

Egypt also purchased 24 advanced fighter jets from France earlier this year for nearly $US6 billion, as it sought international help to bomb Islamic State targets.

The Egyptian government has been battling a long-running insurgency in the northern Sinai region, which escalated after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 amid massive protests against his rule and cracked down on Islamic groups. A local Islamic State affiliate has been claiming responsibility for militant attacks in the area.

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