Updated 3:58 p.m. Moscow time
MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects France to deliver the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier this fall, as scheduled, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said Thursday.
"Russia plans to get Mistral warships at a previously agreed date," he told RIA Novosti.
In 2011, the two countries signed a contract for two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships worth 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion at the current exchange rate). Under the deal, the first warship, the Vladivostok, is to be delivered in 2014 and the second, the Sevastopol, in 2015.
Earlier in September the office of French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend the delivery of the helicopter carriers, linking his decision to the crisis in Ukraine and claiming that Moscow was directly involved in it. However, a French diplomatic source told RIA Novosti that the delivery of the ship had not been put off and that the president's statement did not have any legal consequences.
Later, Hollande stated that he would make a final decision on the delivery of the helicopter carriers by the end of October based on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
The first of the two Mistral carriers built for Russia, Vladivostok, finished a series of tests earlier this week.