France's Renault Trucks Defense, or RTD, has effectively suspended its participation in the French- Russian project of developing Atom armored personnel carrier in retaliation to Moscow's policy in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Atom project was started by the Russian Burevestnik enterprise, a unit of Uralvagonzavod tank-maker, and RTD, owned by the Swedish Volvo group.
Swedish suppliers, which were going to provide the engine and some other elements for the vehicle, were the main initiators of freezing the cooperation for fear that this equipment could potentially be used against NATO member Sweden.
RTD representatives said it was still too early to talk about a full suspension.
"The project has come to a standstill because of the political situation you all know about, but I would not say it has been fully stopped," Mark Chasillian, RTD marketing director told reporters. However he said that the company's activities fell within possible government restrictions. So if the Swedish government tells RTD not to supply the engine, it will have to obey, he said.
Sweden has repeatedly warned Russia it may freeze the Atom deal with Uralvagonzavod, as it supports NATO appeals to suspend military relations with Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine. Nato countries' foreign ministries have claimed that Russia's actions are undermining international norms and the trust between Russia and the bloc.