The deal, which is worth some €1.2 billion, appeared to run aground over Russia's part in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. However, independent Russian news service Interfax reports a military-diplomatic source as saying that a deal has now been struck for the Vladivostok to sail out of Saint-Nazaire shipyard and arrive at its new home of Kronstadt by Friday.
In response to a query from Business Insider a spokesperson for DCNS refused to confirm or deny the reports. In an email they said:
"As you know, DCNS is still expecting the required export authorisation to be granted by the French Government concerning the potential delivery of the first Helicopter Landing Platform (BPC) to the Russian Federation. For this reason DCNS is not in a position to indicate any date for the hand-over of the ship at the current stage."
If true, the news will come as a surprise to many. French President François Hollande had set two firm conditions on the sale — a lasting ceasefire deal between the government in Kiev and rebels in the east of the country and a roadmap agreed by both sides that would put Ukraine onto a lasting path to peace. Neither of these appear to have been met.
Indeed 10 days ago as the previous deadline of November 14th approached Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, stated categorically that the sale was far from imminent telling reporters that "the conditions to deliver the Mistral aren't there".