Francois Hollande Says Warship Contract Will Depend On Russia's Attitude

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2014-07-08T133011Z_1738513747_PM1EA7816HO01_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE
French President Francois Hollande.

France's decision to deliver a second warship to Russia will "depend on Russia's attitude" over violent rebellions in eastern Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande told reporters Monday.

Hollande said a first warship is nearly ready and would be delivered in October, France24 reported, even as the U.S. and UK have stepped up opposition for France's warship deal with Russia.

"For the time being, a level of sanctions has not been decided on that would prevent this delivery," Hollande told reporters. "Does that mean that the rest of the contract - the second Mistral [warship] - can be carried through? That depends on Russia's attitude."

So far, in what diplomats are calling "phase 2" sanctions, the European Union has banned 72 Ukrainians and Russians from traveling and holding assets in EU states. 

“The Russians have paid. Should we repay 1.1 billion euros if the boat was not delivered to the purchaser?” he said, referring to the fact that Russia has already paid 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for the deal. "The contract was signed in 2011, the boat is almost finished and should be delivered in October."

Over the weekend, British Prime Minister David Cameron raised prospects for tighter EU sanctions, calling Monday for restrictions that would halt all arms sales to Russia, including the two French warships. 

U.S. President Barack Obama said in June that France should suspend its contract for the warships.

 

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