Russia will sue France if Paris refuses to honor a contract on construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday.
"We will file a lawsuit and demand compensation [if the contract is not fulfilled], as it's commonly done in a civilized world," Ivanov said. "It's up to Paris to decide whether to honor the contract or not," he said.
"We share long-running history of Russian-French relations, and we would not want to see these relations being sacrificed for the sake of fleeting [political] trends, Ivanov added.
Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion at the current exchange rate) deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, is expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to arrive in 2015, according to Ria Novosti.
The completion of the deal has been at risk since the West started implementing targeted economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
In September, French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend the ships' delivery over Russia's alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Hollande later stated he would make a decision on the ships' delivery in late October. The French president said that the delivery of the ships would be dependent on two conditions: an observed ceasefire in Ukraine and a political settlement of the conflict, the report said.
On September 30, deputy director general at Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport Igor Sevastyanov said Russia and France could sign the act on delivering the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia in late October or early November, it added.
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French shipbuilder DCNS has started work on the second Mistral-class amphibious assault ship built for Russia even as Paris has withheld export clearance for the first of the ships. The second helicopter carrier, named Sevastopol left its dry dock in the French port city of Saint-Nazaire on Thursday, RIA Novosti correspondent reported
France has to deliver the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia by the end of this month or else face serious legal consequences; a high ranking source in Moscow was quoted as saying by Sputnik Friday. “We are preparing for different variations
DCNS has terminated Yves Destefanis, the project director responsible for delivering Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia on Thursday after the confusion created by letter inviting Moscow to take delivery of the first of two Mistral ships in mid-November, local media reported. Herve Guillou, CEO of DCNS relieved Destefanis of his duties after French Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced that conditions for the handover of the ship had not been met
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