PARIS — The French procurement office Tuesday declined to comment on a report Russia has asked for a written statement on whether the Mistral class helicopter carrier will be delivered to Moscow.

Russia has officially sent a written request to France for an explanation of the refusal to deliver the Mistral warship, Russian news agency Ria-Novosti reported, according to Agence France-Presse.

A Russian official for in the military and technical cooperation service sent the letter to the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) procurement office, "with the aim of receiving an official reply," the report said.

A DGA spokesman declined to comment.

A planned summit among meetingbetween France, Germany and Russia is due to be held plan to hold a summit on Thursday Jan. 15 at Astana, Kazakhstan, in a bid to break the deadlock over the Ukraine crisis. The French, German, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met here Monday yesterday to prepare the ground for the top-level meeting.

Russia has previously called on France to either decide to deliver the Mistral or hand back the payment.

DCNS, prime contractor for the Mistral, had organized an official handover of the Vladivostok on Nov. 14, of the Vladivostokthe first of the two helicopter carriers bought by Russia.

France on Nov. 25 suspended the delivery and said the warship would only be released if there were a real cease-fire was observed in Ukraine and if Moscow and Kiev reached a political settlement over the deadly dispute in eastern Ukraine.

The Mistral contract is understood to have been written under Swiss law. Under the force majeure clause in a sales contract, there is generally a 180-day suspension until a decision to cancel is required.

Moscow officials have called on France to decide whether to cancel, and if so then refund the purchase.

The then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy insisted on going ahead in 2011 with the €1.2 billion (US $1.4 billion) sale of the two warships, Vladivostok and Sevastopol, much to the concern of allies in Central European and the Baltics.


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