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PARIS, August 14. /TASS/. France will pay Russia less than €1 billion for non- delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers, the country’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin has told the France Inter radio station.
"The sum of payments to Russia for Mistrals will amount to less than €1 billion," he said. The minister denied the earlier report of the Le Canard enchaine weekly that claimed Paris would pay Moscow €2 billion.
The minister said the decision on the Mistral contact will be formally made at the meeting of the defense ministers’ council in late August. Further information will be announced in public.
Sapin said France’s move to cancel the contract with Moscow is "a necessary political decision" amid the conflict in Ukraine. "We consider that Russia’s position in this conflict is not positive enough," he said.
"In these conditions, the delivery of military equipment is impossible and this was a carefully thought and balanced decision," the minister stressed.
The €1.12 billion contract for the construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011.
Under the contract, Russia was expected to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of 2014. However, Paris suspended the ship’s handover to Russia at the very last moment over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.
It was planned that the second ship, the Sevastopol, would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case with the first Mistral ship.The Sevastopol has undergone three series of trials in the open sea.