France could cancel a deal to supply a $1.6 billion helicopter carrier, ‘Mistral’ to Russia.
“Current conditions will not allow France to deliver the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia”, the office of French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday.
However the contract has not been cancelled and from a legal point of view nothing has changed, the delivery is due November 1, said a French government spokesperson.
“It is a matter of president’s political stance. The head of state said that in the current circumstances, as of today - and if these circumstances do not change – he would not approve delivery of the Mistral,” Ria Novosti said quoting sources.
President Francois Hollande’s position remains the same, according to the diplomatic source. Russia has to undertake the steps essential to reach a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine to receive the Mistral warships on time.
“The final decision will be made in October following a number of procedures,” the diplomatic source added.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first of these, the Vladivostok, was expected in Russia at the end of this year, with the second, the Sevastopol, due to be completed in 2015, Ria Novosti added.
The completion of the deal was at risk after Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.
The Mistral vessels are expected to be deployed by Russia’s Pacific Fleet. They are both capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers, the report concluded.