France on Wednesday put on hold the delivery of the first of two major warships to Russia, saying "conditions ... are not to date in place" to go forward with the $1.6 billion deal in light of recent events in Ukraine.

"The president of the republic declared that, despite the prospect of a ceasefire which still remains to be confirmed and implemented, the conditions for France to deliver the first warship are not to date in place," President Francois Hollande's office announced.

The decision to hold off on delivery of the warships comes on the eve of a NATO summit where leaders are expected to discuss new sanctions against Russia after recent reports that Russian troops have been fighting alongside separatists in eastern Ukraine.

France had previously resisted pressure to cancel the deal for the advanced amphibious assault ships, both after the Russian seizure of Crimea and after Russian-backed separatists shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, killing all 298 people onboard.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called France's decision to go ahead with the sale "completely inappropriate" in a July 22 press briefing.

"We obviously don’t think the Mistral should go ahead," she said. "We don’t think anyone should be providing arms to Russia."