Russia wants Paris to explain warship delivery delay
Iran Press TV
Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:52AM
Russia has demanded that France give an official explanation over its failure to deliver the first of two Mistral-class warships to Moscow under a 2011 deal, a military source in Moscow says.
An official at Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said Moscow has written to France's overseas arms exporter requesting a clarification, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday.
The unnamed official added that Moscow's move could pave the way for legal action against Paris over its delivery delays.
'In order to determine our future decisions – whether we will go to court or give France more time – Russia must have a written explanation of the situation,' the source said.
Based on the 2011 deal worth 1.2 billion euros (USD 1.5 billion), the delivery of the first ship was originally scheduled in October or November 2014 and the second in 2015, according to the AFP. However, in September last year, Paris said it was postponing the decision on the delivery of the first ship until November.
France has come under pressure from the United States and NATO to cancel the contract with Russia.
The US and the EU have accused Russia of destabilizing Ukraine and have imposed a number of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects the accusation.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on January 1 that the delivery would only take place if there were concrete signs of lasting peace in Ukraine.
If France decides not to deliver the two vessels, it faces a penalty of up to USD 3 billion for the non-delivery.
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