French President Francois Hollande says France will refund payments made by Russia for two Mistral amphibious-assault ships if the warships are not delivered because of Moscow’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Hollande said in Paris after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on April 22 that he will discuss the $1.3 billion Mistral deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two meet in Armenia on April 24.
France postponed the delivery of the first warship to Moscow in autumn 2014 in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and the Kremlin’s support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Putin said last week that Moscow expected reimbursement if France ultimately does not deliver the warships — each of which can carry 16 helicopters, four landing crafts, 13 tanks, and more than 400 soldiers.
Hollande and Putin will be in Yerevan to mark the 100th anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces.
Both France and Russia recognize the killings as genocide.