FRANCE have suspended the delivery of a warship to France tonight amid concerns over the Ukraine crisis.
Francois Hollande halted the first shipment of two helicopter carriers after months of pressure from his country’s allies to waive the sale.
The 60-year-old also said the actions of Vladimir Putin’s country had harmed the “foundations of security in Europe.”
The French President issued a statement after he met with his top defence advisers which called the fighting in Ukraine “grave”
Russia’s Defence Ministry said the decision to suspend delivery of the helicopter carrier would add “certain tensions” between the two countries.
But Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said the halting of the shipment would not hurt its military modernisation and reform plans.
Speaking to the Itar-Tass news agency, Mr Borisov said: “Although of course it is unpleasant and adds to certain tensions in relations with our French partners, the cancelling of this contracts will not be a tragedy for our modernisation [of the army].”
The Vladivostok, the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers ordered by Russia, was to be delivered next month.
The second named Sevastopol, after a port in Russian-annexed Crimea, has been slated for delivery next year.
Despite talks today of a possible cease-fire in Ukraine Mr Hollande said it was not enough to allow France to authorise the delivery of the Vladivostok.
His office made no mention of the second warship.
Mr Hollande said the deal was too costly to cancel in July, and even this week his advisers indicated France was ready for the first delivery.
He previously said that France would have to reimburse the £880million cost of the ship if the delivery was cancelled.