France says 'conditions not met' for Mistral warship delivery to Russia

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France says 'conditions not met' for Mistral warship delivery to Russia

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“Conditions today have not been met to deliver the Mistral,” the French finance minister has announced.

Michel Sapin’s comment echoes earlier statements from Paris concerning the sale to Russia of the two controversial warships.

On October 28, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian implied that a decision had yet to be made.

“If the political conditions do not change I can’t imagine the delivery being authorised. The French president will make his decision at the moment of delivery,” he said.

Sapin said the ‘conditions’ he was referring to concerned the need for a more stable situation in Ukraine.

His remarks came a day after senior Russian defence official Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying Moscow would take delivery of the first helicopter carrier on November 14.

It is now unclear when, if at all, the handover will take place.

France was under the leadership of Nicolas Sarkozy when the contract was signed in 2011.

Western partners have since put pressure on current President François Hollande to abandon the deal due to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

However, reports suggest France will have to pay a multi-million-euro penalty if it pulls out.