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France considers refund to Russia for undelivered warships

Russia has paid for two warships that have not been delivered.

By Ed Adamczyk
The Russian Mistral-class warship under consruction in Saint Nazaire, France. Photo by Quoique/Wikimedia
The Russian Mistral-class warship under consruction in Saint Nazaire, France. Photo by Quoique/Wikimedia

PARIS, April 22 (UPI) -- France is considering different scenarios to refund Russia's payment for undelivered warships, French President François Hollande said Wednesday.

Hollande will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in Armenia. Discussions will involve, in part, two Mistral-class ships under construction in France and paid for by Russia. Hollande suspended delivery of the ships in September, when the first was completed, noting Russian military strength should not be increased at a time of rising tensions over Russian involvement in Ukraine.

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The contract for helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ships has nearly been paid in full by Russia, and at issue is a $1.29 billion refund, tied to activity in Ukraine and adherence to a February peace accord.

Last week Putin said he expected a prompt refund on the payment, but Hollande responded by pointing out it is tied to the actions of pro-Russian militants in Ukraine, who have not yet implemented parts of the peace plan, including withdrawal of heavy artillery on the front lines of the battles in eastern Ukraine.

Hollande added Wednesday the deal for the ships could still be salvaged at his meeting with Putin.

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