(Releads, adds reaction from Italy's Fincantieri)
MOSCOW, July 25 An Italian-Russian project to
build a new generation small submarine has been delayed but
comments attributed to a senior Russian official that the
Ukraine crisis was behind the move were denied by a spokesman
for the Italian company involved.
The Itar-Tass agency quoted a senior Russian official as
saying the project had been suspended because of the "political
situation" following Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
An Italian spokesman blamed the delay on timing issues.
The decade-old deal between Russian company Rubin and
Italian shipmaker Fincantieri to build a 1,000-tonne
diesel submarine, the S-1000, is part of President Vladimir
Putin's plans to revamp Russia's fighting force.
"To our regret, due to the well known political situation,
this project has been suspended," Itar-Tass quoted Igor Vilnit,
the head of Rubin's Central Design Bureau for Marine
Engineering, as saying.
Rubin declined immediate comment to Reuters.
Antonio Autorino, a spokesman for Fincantieri, the
Italian shipmaker involved in the project, said a working group
meeting, due to be held in the middle of the year, had been
postponed due to scheduling problems.
He denied the delay was linked to political issues and said
the meeting would be rescheduled at a later date.
"The Italian side asked to change the date of a working
group meeting which was due to be held in the middle of the year
because it clashed with other commitments of some of the
participants," he said.
He added that the poject was still at the study phase and
"has not reached the final stage".
The latest round of U.S. sanctions targeted Russian arms
producers, including some of the most iconic names in Soviet and
The downing of a Malaysian passenger jet in eastern Ukraine
has also put the spotlight on arms cooperation with Moscow,
including French plans to deliver a helicopter carrier to
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel and Giselda Vagnoni, Editing
by Timothy Heritage and David Evans)