Russia is reportedly demanding over 1 billion euros from France after the cancellation of a contract to deliver two Mistral helicopter carriers.
France cancelled the 2011 deal worth 1.19 billion euros when it came under pressure from Western nations responding to Russia’s backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
According to a source cited in the Russian daily Kommersant, Russia is now demanding 1.163 billion euros ($1.32 billion) from France, which is said to have offered only 785 million euros in compensation.
The unnamed source added that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Rogozin had expressed Moscow’s dissatisfaction with the French offer to Louis Gauthier, Secretary General of the Defence and National Security of France.
Moscow has not commented on the Kommersant report, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande had agreed in principle to “either the goods or the money."
Peskov did not comment on the report’s claim that France was planning to sell the vessels to a third party before compensating Russia.
However, senior Russian Defense Ministry official Yury Yakubov denied the claims to Russian news agency Interfax.
"Both Mistral helicopter carriers were built for the Russian navy, for our helicopters, our control systems, our infrastructure. These vessels cannot be given away to some third country now under any circumstances, this is a matter of state security," Yakubov said.
During his visit to Belgrade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a solution to the cancellation of the contract was being dealt with on a "legal and commercial" level.