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France Suspends Warship Delivery to Russia

Defense Minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, second left, listens to a translator during a press conference with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak, right, in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 25, 2014.

France is suspending “until further notice” the delivery of a warship to Russia because of the Ukraine crisis.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday in Warsaw that due to the current situation in eastern Ukraine, France is postponing "until further notice" the delivery of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier built for Russia.

President Francois Hollande's office announced the decision earlier in the day.

During a news conference with Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, Le Drian also announced France plans to send an armored military unit to Poland for exercises.

“In the coming weeks we will send a unit of armored forces, which will hold exercises on the territory of Poland," said Le Drian.

Siemoniak praised France’s moves.

“I welcome this decision with highest satisfaction, it is a very good decision, this decision shows that France wants to strongly show that Western values are the most important, and it does not accept what is happening in the east of Europe," said Siemoniak.

France has been fiercely criticized by its allies over the deal because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the separatist uprising. The fighting in eastern Ukraine has claimed 4,300 lives since it started in April.

The office of French President Francois Hollande said in a statement earlier Tuesday that the "current situation in eastern Ukraine still does not allow for the delivery” of the warship.

The Vladivostok, the first of two Mistral-class warships built for Russia, was to be delivered in early November, as part of a $1.6 billion contract signed between the two countries in 2011.