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Russia to start delivering S-400 defense system to Turkey in 2019

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S 400
Russian
S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems at the Victory Day
parade at Red Square in Moscow, May 9, 2015.

Reuters

  • Turkey will reportedly start getting the S-400
    air-defense system it bought from Russia next year.
  • The purchase has raised tensions between Turkey and its
    NATO allies, especially the US.
  • Turkey is not the only US partner buying the S-400,
    which has frustrated US lawmakers and defense
    officials.

Russia will start delivering its advanced S-400 missile defense
system to Turkey in 2019, the Interfax news agency cited Russian
state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying on Tuesday.

A Turkish defense official said in April that the
delivery of the S-400 batteries had been brought forward from the
first quarter of 2020 to July 2019.

Turkey and Russia negotiated the purchase throughout 2017, finalizing a
deal worth some $2.5 billion at the end
of the year. Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made air-defense
system has ratcheted up tensions between
Ankara and the rest of the NATO alliance.

The missile system is not interoperable with NATO weapons
systems. A Turkish officials said last year that the S-400 will
not come with a friend-or-foe identification system, meaning it
could be fired any target. In September, Turkey’s state media
agency tweeted an infographic listing
aircraft and missiles the S-400 could target, including NATO
planes.


trump erdogan turkey
President
Donald Trump with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the
UN General Assembly in New York, September 21,
2017.

REUTERS/Kevin
Lamarque


The US has also expressed concern that Turkey’s deployment of the
S-400 could risk the security of several US-made weapons used by
Turkey, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

US legislators included a provision in the 2019 National Defense
Authorization Act, signed by President Donald
Trump earlier this month, that bars delivery of the F-35 to
Turkey
until the Pentagon completes an assessment of
relations between the US and Turkey and the effect of Ankara’s
purchase of the S-400.

Turkey has already received two of the roughly 100 F-35s it
planned to buy, and the measure blocking further deliveries came
over the objections of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Turkey
has said it will pursue
international arbitration over the blocked F-35 sale.

The US has also put tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum over
Ankara’s refusal to free a US pastor held there. Trump has said there “will be no
concessions” on that issue.

Rosoboronexport also said it would switch to using local
currencies in deals with foreign trade partners, instead of using
the dollar, RIA news agency reported, according to Reuters.


Russian S-400
Russian
S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems in the Victory Day
parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi
Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, May 9,
2016.


Sergei
Karpukhin/Reuters



Turkey is not the first foreign buyer of the S-400. China
finalized a deal with
Rosoboronexport in late 2014 to upgrade its existing S-300
batteries with the S-400 system. Russia’s official news agency,
Tass, reported in May 2018 that China had taken delivery of
its first S-400 regiment.

And Turkey may not be the last US partner to frustrate
Washington with an S-400 purchase.

India’s defense
minister said in July that New Delhi’s plan to buy the S-400 was at
an “almost conclusive stage.”

US officials tried to warn India away from
the deal, citing potential challenges to interoperability and
issues with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through
Sanctions Act, which aims to penalize entities doing business
with Russian arms or intelligence sectors. US lawmakers
ultimately approved an exemption to CAATSA for countries like
India that still use Russian-made weapons in the
NDAA.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both also considering buying
the S-400.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing
by Andrew Osborn)

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