Updated on 10:09 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – The delivery of first Mistral-class helicopter carrier, built for Russia under the 2011 contract, was put on hold until November, Agence France-Presse quoted a French diplomatic source as saying Wednesday.
“The contract is suspended until November,” the source said.
In a statement released earlier on Wednesday, the administration of the French president said that the country’s government thinks that the delivery of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier would not be appropriate under the present circumstances, referring to the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships, the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol, in June 2011. The 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 Vladivostok was expected in Russia at the end of this year, while the Sevastopol was due to be completed in 2015.
The completion of the deal has been at risk since Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it is not involved in the Ukrainian crisis and has called for an immediate end to Kiev’s “punitive operation” in eastern Ukraine.