SAINT NAZAIRE, June 30- Some 400 Russian marines arrived Monday in France where they were to undergo training as part of a controversial warship deal between Paris and Moscow.
France had gone ahead with the sale of two Mistral warships to Russia, despite calls from NATO and the United States to hold off on the 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) deal over the crisis in Ukraine.
During their training, the 400 marines will be staying onboard a Russian ship docked behind one of the two Mistral helicopter carriers.
France agreed the sale under a 2011 contract, with the first vessel due for delivery in October and the second in 2015.
The Mistral, the second largest ship in the French navy, is a high-seas military base that can transport up to 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 60 armed vehicles and some 700 troops.