France to refund $1 billion to Russia for cancelling the sale of 2 warships

PARIS – France will refund 950 million euros ($1 billion) to Russia for the cancellation of the sale of two Mistral-class warships, but won’t have to pay penalties.

In a bill going to France’s lower house of Parliament next week, the government details the agreement reached with Russia last month.

According to the text, the “only condition” laid down by Russia is to receive the money “as soon as possible.” Then, France will be able to sell the warships to another country.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are reported to be on top of the list of potential purchasers.

The 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) deal was cancelled last year because of the Ukrainian crisis. It was supposed to be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to Russia.