Russian sailors are leaving a French Atlantic port without the French-made warship they were supposed to take home.

France suspended the delivery of the ship to Russia "until further notice" last month because of the conflict in Ukraine. The ship was part of the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to the Kremlin. But Russia's actions in Ukraine have made the French government reconsider the billion-euro deal, even if it means paying Russia back.

About 400 Russian sailors have spent months training aboard the warship, a Mistral-class helicopter carrier called the Vladivostok. They were living aboard a Russian ship, the Smolny.

The Smolny began leaving the port of Saint-Nazaire on Thursday, according to an AP photographer watching the departure.