Russia Plans To Deliver S-400 Missiles To Turkey In July, Says Kremlin Aide
By RFE/RL June 11, 2019
Russia said on June 11 that it plans to deliver its S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey in July, just days after Washington gave Ankara a deadline of July 31 to reverse the purchase or face the loss of subcontracting work on the U.S.-led F-35 fighter-jet project.
NATO allies Turkey and the United States have sparred for months over Ankara's order for the S-400s, which are not compatible with the alliance's systems.
Kremlin foreign-policy adviser Yury Ushakov told reporters on June 11 in Moscow that the "agreements reached between Russia and Turkey are being fulfilled on time in the given context. There are no bilateral problems."
On June 8, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said Turkey was given a deadline of July 31 to reverse its purchase or face the loss of subcontracting work on the F-35 project.
Lord also told reporters that Turkish pilots training in the United States on F-35 warplanes being sold to Ankara would be expelled if the missile deal is not called off.
Asked if the missile system will be delivered in July, Ushakov said, "Yes, that's what we plan somehow."
Accepting delivery of the S-400s would trigger U.S. sanctions against Ankara that could deepen Turkey's economic recession and prompt a reassessment of its 67-year membership of NATO.
The U.S. House of Representatives on June 10 approved a resolution introduced in May and titled "Expressing Concern For The United States-Turkey Alliance."
It urges Turkey to cancel the S-400 purchase and calls for sanctions in case it accepts their delivery. That, the resolution said, would undermine the U.S.-led transatlantic defense alliance.
Turkey said on June 11 that the resolution was unacceptably threatening.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its foreign policy and judicial system were being maligned by "unfair" and "unfounded" allegations in the resolution.
"It is unacceptable to take decisions which do not serve to increase mutual trust, to continue to keep the language of threats and sanctions on the agenda and to set various artificial deadlines," it added.
Turkey appeared set to move ahead with the S-400 purchase despite the U.S. warnings.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that it was "out of the question" for Turkey to back away from its deal with Moscow.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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