March 20, 2014
Russia fired the first salvoes in what could develop into a trade war with Ukraine and the west, closing a Ukrainian-owned confectionery factory and stepping up inspections of goods at the border.
Tensions have also risen between Russia and France over a €1.2bn (£1bn) deal for two Mistral warships after the foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said earlier thisi week that Paris may cancel the contract if Russia provoked further escalation in Ukraine.
Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozon, who is in charge of the defence industry, responded on Wednesday that France should either build the two warships for Russia on time “or return the money and parts of these warships’ hulls” that had already been constructed. Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation said France would have to pay huge penalties if it terminated the contract, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.