Russia to begin delivering S-400 system to Turkey in 2020

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Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system is displayed at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow on August 22, 2017 during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017. / AFP PHOTO / Alexander NEMENOV

A Russian presidential aide on military cooperation on Monday said Russia will begin fulfilling a contract with Turkey for the delivery of an S-400 air defense system in early 2020, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“Turkey expressed a wish to accelerate its implementation, and we managed to find the most appropriate solution as we agreed to accelerate the contract’s implementation, so I think we will begin to fulfill it some time in early 2020,” Vladimir Kozhin told the local Rossiya 24.

Kozhin also said Russia has received requests from Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration for new arms supplies, but he added it was too early to give any details.

Turkey and Russia on Dec. 29 signed a $2.5 billion agreement for Moscow to supply Ankara with an S-400 missile defense system, finalizing a deal the two countries have been working on for more than a year.

The S-400 deal has caused concern in the West because Turkey is a member of NATO and the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.

Erdoğan announced in September that Ankara had signed a deal with Russia to buy an S-400 missile defense system despite opposition from NATO allies.

Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael said the US had relayed its concerns to Turkish officials over the purchase. Michael said that a NATO inter-operable missile defense system was the best option for defending Turkey from the full range of threats in the region.

NATO also stated in September that Turkey had not informed the alliance of the details of its agreement to purchase an S-400 air defense system from Russia.

On Aug. 1, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that Ankara procuring an S-400 anti-missile system from Russia concerned the Pentagon.

“Our only concern about it is one of interoperability. Turkey is a NATO ally. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for allies to buy interoperable equipment,” Davis said, expressing Pentagon concerns about the damage Russian-made systems could cause to US joint operations with NATO ally Turkey.

Pentagon officials said their concern is about the potential of confusion on the battlefield between Ankara and alliance members due to the use of Russian systems by a NATO ally.

Reacting to critics from the West, Erdoğan in July said “Greece, a member of NATO, has been using the S-300 for years.”

“You [NATO] neither share technology and respond to demands for joint production, nor present an offer that is financially effective. Hence, you are not in a position to say ‘Don’t buy a non-NATO system’,” Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said in a statement in April.

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