MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) - There is nothing that would stop France from delivering two Mistral helicopter carrier ships to Russia, French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday.
“Today’s level of sanctions will not hamper deliveries … Should there be new tensions and it is difficult to find a way out, we will have to think of something. As for now, it is all good,” Hollande was quoted as saying by Le Monde.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion contract for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, is expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, should arrive in 2015.
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. However, the French side said it would fulfill its contractual obligations and deliver the ships as agreed.
The Mistral vessels are expected to be deployed in Russia’s Pacific Fleet. They are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers each.