Russia and France are continuing an "active negotiation process" over the fate of the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers that Paris has refrained from delivering to the Russian navy in response to Moscow's actions in Ukraine, the director of Russia's arms export service said Tuesday.
"We can expect a final decision by May," said Rosoboronexport General Director Anatoly Isaikin was quoted by news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
Russia commissioned the ships in 2011 for 1.2 billion euros ($1.27 billion), but after Moscow's annexation of Crimea last year, Paris put the delivery of the first ship — scheduled for November — on hold, prompting Russian threats of legal recourse.
Isaikin said that Russia will receive a refund for the vessels if France refuses to deliver the warships.
According to Isaikin, it's France that has the most to lose if the ships aren't delivered. "The biggest loss is felt by the party that built [the ships] but does not comply with its obligations," he said.
"This is primarily a moral loss, a loss to the image of the country. I thing that the French side understands this perfectly well," Isaikin said.