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WARSAW, March 12 /TASS/. A decision not to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia was France’s sovereign decision, and Paris is ready to take on responsibility for that step, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said during a visit to the Polish capital on Thursday.
"In November last year, President (Francois) Hollande decided that the situation in eastern Ukraine made it impossible for France to deliver this ship to Russia. Our stance has remained unchanged since then," Valls said in an interview with the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
Previous reports said that Russia was waiting for an official statement from the French government on the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers. According to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov, Russia is ready to accept any outcome. Russia will find an application to the Mistral ships if they are ultimately delivered under the contract; the non-delivery of Mistrals to Russia, on the other hand, will not decrease the combat potential of the Russian Navy.
"Any civilized outcome out of this situation will suit us," Borisov said. Under the current circumstances when the situation with the Mistral helicopter carriers is in suspension, the Russian Defense Ministry is particularly concerned with France’s return of an advance payment worth about €1 billion.
According to Borisov, the procedure of termination of the contract under the force major circumstances is provided in the inter-governmental agreement. However, Russia needs an official statement from the French side on its refusal to deliver the Mistral helicopter carriers in order to start actions to annul the contract.