“As our president has [already] told the press, the topic of the Mistral was not discussed [during an unscheduled meeting in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande]. The president also said that we understand the situation calmly, and that in principle two variants would suffice: either the ships or the money that should be returned,” Ushakov said.
Putin said Saturday the issue of Mistral delivery had not been brought up during his rendezvous with Hollande, but stressed Moscow would "proceed from the assumption" that Paris meant to honor the contract.
The Russian president added, however, that Moscow would "have no major complaints" if Paris did not deliver on its contractual obligations since it expected the money paid for two ships to be returned.
Last week, Putin's senior aide said Moscow expected France to make its final decision on the ships deal known before the turn of the year. He warned Russia might file a lawsuit with the European Court of Arbitration "next year" to seek damages from France.
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, was expected in Russia until the end of November, but never arrived, the second ship, the Sevastopol, was supposed to arrive in 2015.
Last week, the French leader put the delivery on hold, citing the situation in eastern Ukraine as the reason behind the decision.
Relations between Russia and the European Union member countries have deteriorated amid the Ukrainian crisis, as European leaders kept blaming Moscow for its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian internal conflict – a claim that Kremlin has repeatedly denied.