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France will reimburse Russia if warships are not delivered: French president

The Mistrals were being built in Saint-Nazaire in northern France, 21 November 2014.
The Mistrals were being built in Saint-Nazaire in northern France, 21 November 2014. AFP

Russia would be reimbursed for two Mistral helicopter carriers if they are not delivered and the 1.2-billion-euro contract is cancelled, French President Francois Hollande told reporters Wednesday. Delivery of the first warship was due last year but the deal was put on hold after Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis led to sanctions against Moscow by the European Union.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he expects France to reimburse all costs incurred by Russia, but that as it stands no penalties would be imposed.

Putin had also stressed that France’s failure to deliver the warships would not undermine Russia's defence capabilities.

Hollande made mention of the frozen contract ahead of a meeting with Putin on Friday in Armenia.

"According to the different scenarios you either have payment or reimbursement," Hollande said during a press conference Wednesday, after meeting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"On the Mistrals, all options will be addressed," he added.

France has come under international pressure not to go ahead with the deliveries, though on Sunday Hollande said that negotiations were still underway to find a "solution to the crisis."

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