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08:59 AM, March 18, 2014
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France threatens to cancel Russian mistral deal over Ukrainian conflict.

In light of Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, France will consider scrapping a 1.4-billion-euro deal to deliver two Mistral-class warships to the Russian Navy.

In the interview with France’s TF1, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius denied the legitimacy of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea to join Russia and urged Moscow to take urgent measures to avoid “useless and dangerous” escalation in Ukraine.

The first French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, named Vladivostok, capable of deploying helicopters and tanks, was due to arrive in Russia by the year-end under a June 2011 contract signed between Russia and France, according to Ria Novosti.

A second Mistral-class warship, the Sevastopol, is due to arrive in 2015 and become part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquartered in Crimea.

"If Putin carries on like this, we could consider canceling these sales,” Fabius said Monday adding that the possible loss of the contracts could be negative for the French economy.

The French foreign minister said such move would be part of “phase three” of economic sanctions against Moscow. “Now we are at phase two,” he said.

The remarks came after US and EU imposed sanctions Monday on senior Russian officials following a referendum in Ukraine's Crimea in which voters overwhelmingly supported secession and reunification with Russia, the report added.

Those named on the US and EU lists of sanctions are banned from entry into the US and EU member states and their financial assets will be frozen.

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