France is suspending the delivery of a hulking warship to Russia amid security concerns about Moscow’s actions in neighboring Ukraine, President Francois Hollande’s office said Wednesday. The announcement comes a day before the start of a NATO summit and after months of pressure on France from allies to halt the sale amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Hollande’s office, in a statement after he met with top defense advisers Wednesday, called the fighting in eastern Ukraine “grave,” and said Russia’s recent actions harm “the foundations of security in Europe.”
The Vladivostok, the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers ordered by Russia, was to be delivered next month. The second — named Sevastopol, ironically, after a port in Russian-annexed Crimea — has been slated for delivery next year. Despite talk Wednesday of a possible cease-fire in Ukraine, Hollande said that's not enough to allow France to authorize the delivery of the Vladivostok. His office made no mention of the second warship.
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