MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) — If France does not deliver the Mistral helicopter carrier on November 14, Russia should ask for its money back, chairman of the defense committee of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
"We need to end this fuss by ourselves. If it [the order] is not executed in time, on the 14th [of November], then we should file a lawsuit, take all the money that we have paid, plus the penalty," Adm. Vladimir Komoedov said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the upper chamber's defense and security committee Viktor Ozerov said that the money France will have to pay if the contract is abolished will be used for the military state program, whereas France's image as a reliable partner will be at stake.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that state arms exporter Rosoboronexport had already been invited to France on November 14 to attend the handover ceremony of the first Mistral carrier to be delivered under a contract signed by Paris and Moscow in June 2011. However, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced earlier on Thursday that conditions for the handover have not yet been met by Russia.
The 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion) deal for the two Mistral-class ships has been in jeopardy since the West started implementing targeted economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. French President Francois Hollande in October threatened to suspend the deliveries of the ships, citing Russia's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict – a claim that Moscow has repeatedly denied.