The French government has officially suspended the sale of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia. How, might you ask, is this different than the country's stance all along? And what happened to French President Francois Hollande making a final decision in November?

Consider this suspension Hollande's decision. The French president's office issued the following statement on the matter, according to Defense News:

"The president of the republic considers the present situation in east Ukraine still does not allow the delivery of the first [projection and command ship]. He has decided that it is appropriate to suspend, until further notice, the examination of the request for export authorization for the first [projection and command ship] to the Russian Federation."

France finds itself in a difficult position in regards to the sale, DN reports. The two ships, the completed Vladivostok and the nearly finished Sevastopol (shown above), were built by the government-owned DCNS, and worth over 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion at today's rates) and thousands of jobs, the Associated Press reports. Moreover, France's original deal with Russia included the option for two additional ships. In other words, France's economic slump could be worsened considerably by an outright termination of the ship's sale, hence the government's seemingly reluctant attitude towards pulling the plug.

Hollande originally set a pair of conditions for delivery of the ships, namely that Russia observe its cease fire with Ukraine and that the two country's sort out their issues diplomatically. That first condition clearly hasn't been followed, with DN citing a report from the United Nations that claims over 1,000 people have been killed since the September cease fire.

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