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France Suspends Warship Delivery To Russia; Moscow Unfazed

The Mistral-class helicopter carrier "Vladivostok" is seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France, in April.

French President Francois Hollande says the government will not deliver the first of two Mistral-class warships to Russia because of Moscow's aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine.

Hollande's office said in a statement on September 3 that the "conditions" were not in place to deliver the warship, a controversial deal that has led to criticism from many of Paris's Western allies.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov was quoted as saying the French decision "is unpleasant" but "not a tragedy" for Russia’s "rearmament" and reform plans.

The U.S. State Department said France had made a "wise" decision.

The first warship was to have been delivered to Russia in October.

French officials said the issue would be reviewed in November.

France had resisted pressure from its allies to stop the delivery of the warships, saying that halting the multibillion-dollar deal would hurt Paris more than Moscow.

But Hollande said last week that it would be "intolerable and unacceptable" if Russian forces had entered Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP