MOSCOW, November 15 (Sputnik) — France takes decisions independently over the delivery of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers, the country's Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has announced.
"I have already had the occasion to say that at the current stage, today, the conditions have not been met for the delivery of the Mistral [ship] to Russia," Valls said at a press conference Friday, as quoted by AFP.
The prime minister added that France makes Mistral-related decisions in a sovereign manner, "without anyone dictating its conduct from outside".
Earlier on Friday, a high-ranking source in Moscow told Sputnik that Russia would give Paris until the end of November to deliver the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier and make serious legal claims if Paris failed to fulfil its contract.
Russia and France signed the €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) deal for the two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. While the first carrier, the Vladivostok, is expected in Russia at the end of the month, the second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to arrive in 2015.
The deal has been in jeopardy after the West started imposing economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. In October, French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend the deliveries of the ships.
In turn, Moscow has stated that if the contact is cancelled, Paris will have to pay a large penalty. Russia also said that if something goes wrong, Russia would be able to build its own version of the ships.