France, Russia reach deal on compensation of Mistral warships: senior Russian official31 july 2015, 14:28
After eight months of negotiations France and Russia have reached a deal on the amount Paris must pay Moscow in compensation for the non-delivery of two Mistral warships, a senior Russian official said, AFP reports.
"The negotiations are completely finished, everything has already been decided, both the time-frame and the amount," President Vladimir Putin's adviser for military and technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, told state news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday evening.
"I hope we will sign the agreement on the termination of the contract as soon as possible," he added.
The fate of the two Mistral helicopter carriers has plagued France-Russia ties for more than a year, following the decision by Paris to put the 1.2-billion-euro ($1.3-billion) deal on ice as the West slapped sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and alleged backing for separatist rebels in Ukraine.
French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would decide "in the coming weeks" whether or not to scrap a contentious contract to supply the two warships to Russia.
The first ship was due for delivery in 2014, while the second was to be delivered this year.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed the importance of the ships but insisted that the French side reimburse Moscow "all expenses" if the contract were to be terminated.
The Kremlin strongman has, however, made clear Moscow would still like its money back.
A spokesperson of Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's deputy prime minister who oversees the defence industry, refused to comment on the deal.