"I would be astonished if the French don't deliver both ships," said Joel Johnson, a defense trade consultant with the Teal Group.
An official at the French Embassy in Washington declined to provide comment beyond what Hollande said on Monday.
Bloomberg reports that the construction of the second carrier, called the Sevastopol, is roughly 75 percent complete and paid for.
Russia is buying the ships from France because it's cheaper and faster than having to design one on its own. In the original deal, signed in 2011, the two countries agreed that the first two ships would be built and completed in France, with a third and fourth ship to be built in Russia.
Johnson said France could refuse to provide technical assistance to build the follow-on ships for Russia but that beyond that, France would most likely stick to its original agreement. This is partly because France, like other European countries, can't afford America's idealism when it comes to defense exports.
"There's no European country that can support a defense industry without exports," Johnson said. "It's much more painful for them to cut off exports and antagonize a customer than it is for the United States."
Therefore, compared to the United States, France has a reputation as a "highly dependable arms exporter," Johnson said. France risks hurting that image if it reneges on its Mistral contract with Russia.