Russia to Speed Up Delivery of S-400 to Turkey Amid US Sanctions Threat
The developments come as the US State Department made it clear that Washington would sanction any country that decides to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems.
The first S-400 surface-to-air missile systems will be delivered to Turkey in 2019, Viktor Kladov, a spokesman for Russian state corporation Rostec, told the Turkish news agency Anadolu.
He referred to requests made by Rostec's Turkish partners to speed up the production and delivery of the S-400 systems to Turkey, something that he said prompted Rostec, which makes these systems, to meet its partners' expectations.
Kladov stressed that "a decision to acquire our S-400 systems by Turkey, which is a NATO country, has become a significant event."
When asked about the possibility of jointly producing S-400 systems between Russia and Turkey, he said that it's necessary to "bear in mind that this is a very serious technology."
"To organize such a production, one needs to possess the appropriate material and technical base as well as skilled personnel, a task that takes plenty of time to be implemented," Kladov pointed out.
His remarks came after US State Department's spokesperson Heather Nauert warned that Washington was against its allies purchasing Russian S-400 air defense systems and that the White House would potentially impose sanctions in the likelihood that such transactions occur.
Last week, Alexander Mikheev, chief executive of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told reporters that his company was preparing to deliver S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey next year.
In July, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu cautioned, in turn, that Ankara intended to respond to the US in case Washington decided to impose sanctions due to the purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems by Turkey.
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell warned that Turkey's S-400 purchase would lead to Washington applying sanctions against Ankara, a qualitative change in bilateral relations and a possible halt to US F-35 fighter jet supplies to Ankara.
The contract arrangements on the S-400 deliveries to Turkey were confirmed by Russia on September 12, 2017, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan saying at the time that prepayments had already been made.
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