France's Mistral Warship Deal With Russia Is Off Again

Russian state-owned news service Sputnik News is reporting that French President François Hollande has postponed the sale of its Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Moscow.

Here’s the tweet:

The news comes after the French minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, tweeted earlier on Tuesday that the conditions for the sale of the Mistral ships to Russia have not been met:

Reports in Russian media suggested that Moscow had given its French partners until the end of the month to hand over the first of two warships on order, or else it would seek “serious claims” for breach of contract. That deadline now looks under threat, despite news on Monday that a provisional date of November 27th had been agreed by both sides for the handover.

The deal is a nightmare for France. The country would doubtless love the €1.2 billion in revenue that the ships will generate from the Russians. But Russia right now is engaged in an on-again, off-again armed conflict in Crimea and Ukraine, which the international community opposes. France doesn’t particularly want to be seen selling military equipment to Putin’s increasingly belligerent empire.

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