Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart François Fillon have sealed a raft of business deals at the Rambouillet chateau outside Paris.
The pair, accompanied by a host of senior company executives, have agreed a restructuring deal for the troubled Russian carmaker Avtovaz. Russia plans to increase its financial support for the ailing Lada manufacturer to help cover the company’s cash flow problems. Renault, which has a 25 per cent stake in Avtovas, will contribute 240 million euros in-kind through the transfer of technology, machinery, equipment and expertise to back the production of new vehicles. Moscow has also expressed interest in buying a French Mistral class warship, Fillon said the government was studying the request. “France is open to cooperation with Russia including defence,” he said. However, the possible deal has sent jitters through Georgia and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia. The three want clarification of what France intends to sell and what it could be used for.