MOSCOW – A senior Russian official says France has set a date next month for handing over a controversial navy ship to Russia.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was quoted by Russian news agencies Wednesday as saying France has invited a Russian delegation to attend the transfer of the Mistral amphibious assault ship in Saint-Nazaire, western France, on Nov. 14.
The French government has been hesitant about proceeding with the contract, the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia, because of Moscow's role in the Ukrainian conflict. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that President Francois Hollande would "make the decision at the time of delivery ... during the month of November."
Emmanuel Gaudez, spokesman for defense contractor DCNS, refused to comment on Rogozin's claims Wednesday.