The ceremony for France handing over to Russia the first Mistral helicopter carrier will occur in mid-November of this year in the city of Saint-Nazaire, a representative from the port city’s worker’s union told RIA Novosti on Monday.
“The ceremony of France transferring the first Mistral helicopter under the name of the Vladivostok to Russia is [scheduled for] November 14 of this year,” the representative said.
He said the date is not yet official, but the wharf’s employees are preparing for the ceremony.
Earlier on the day, a representative for STX shipbuilding company told RIA Novosti that the handing over of the first Mistral ship is a matter of days or weeks.
In June 2011, Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion) deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carrier ships. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, was scheduled to arrive in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, is expected in 2015.
Earlier in September, French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend the deliveries of the ships over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
In October, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov claimed that Moscow will sue France in case the obligations on the Mistral carriers are not fulfilled. Last week, the Russian Navy said the country is not dependent on France on the issue and is capable of building similar warships on its own.