PARIS, December 8. /TASS/. France’s delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia is closely connected with implementation of the Minsk peace agreements on Ukraine, French daily newspaper Le Figaro quoted President Francois Hollande as saying.
The French leader made the statement after his impromptu visit to Russia on Saturday for crisis talks with President Vladimir Putin, Le Figaro reported on Monday. “The delivery of the helicopter carriers to Russia is connected with implementation of the Minsk accords,” Le Figaro quoted Hollande as saying.
Hollande made his unscheduled stop in Moscow on his way back to France from a visit to Kazakhstan and met Putin in the diplomatic terminal of Vnukovo airport, south-west of the Russian capital.
“We are gradually moving forward,” Hollande was reported as saying in comments after the talks. “But in the Ukrainian issue, we have already got used to moving forward and then moving backwards again. It is therefore entirely possible that we will soon be disappointed about what is happening, as we have already been earlier.”
The Moscow stopover comes just a week after France's decision to suspend indefinitely the delivery of the first two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine.
Putin told journalists after the meeting that he and Hollande had not discussed the delayed delivery of two French warships for the Russian Navy. But he said he expected France to return the money that Russia had paid so far for the vessels.