Turkey to buy more Russian missile systems despite US sanctions threat, report says

Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile launchers are seen in Sevastopol in 2018. Russia plans to deliver a second S-400 surface-to-air missile system to Turkey, despite warnings from Washington that Ankara faces sanctions if it deploys the system, Russian state news reported.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 24, 2020

Russia plans to deliver more S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to NATO ally Turkey, despite warnings from Washington that Ankara may face sanctions if it deploys them.

The two governments signed a contract Sunday for the second system, Russian state news agency TASS reported. They were discussing financial aspects of the deal, the report cited said Alexander Mikheyev, head of the state Rosobron export military sales agency, as saying.

Ankara did not immediately confirm the latest purchase.

Turkey’s surprise $2.5 billion purchase in 2017 of four batteries of the advanced Russian anti-aircraft system drew criticism from the United States and its European allies. Among other disagreements with the deal, NATO members said the S-400s were incompatible with the Western-made weapons systems used by Turkey’s armed forces.

After the Russian anti-aircraft system was delivered in 2019, the United States kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program, fearing Russia could use the S-400 system to gather intelligence on the fifth-generation jet and possibly compromise its stealth technology.

Turkey was one of the original foreign customers for the F-35, which is built by Lockheed Martin. It planned to buy about 100 of the jets.

Ankara has argued that the deal for Russian missiles was superior to the offer from Washington for Patriot missiles.

In addition to the follow-up order, Turkey plans to pursue a joint development agreement with Russia which would allow it to produce its own sophisticated surface-to-air missiles.

Washington so far has held off from penalizing the NATO ally under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which says any nation that makes a major defense purchase from Russia should be sanctioned.