Turkey sticking with Russian air defense system purchase: report

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S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during the Victory Day military parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2018. AFP PHOTO

Turkey has not changed its decision to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia but welcomes a US State Department approval of the possible purchase of a rival Patriot system from the United States, two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

One official described the State Department decision as good sign for Ankara’s troubled relations with Washington, and Turkey was now waiting for the next US step.

“Turkey has not changed the decision to buy the S-400 defense system from Russia,” the official said. “As an ally, the US should sell it to Turkey … but we have been awaiting their approval.”

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on Wednesday Russia was pressing ahead with a contract to deliver the S-400 missile air defense systems to Turkey despite the US State Department approving the possible sale of the Patriot system to Ankara.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian and US transactions should be seen as separate from each other and that Russia was in the process of fulfilling the terms of the deal to supply Ankara with S-400s.

“These are not connected processes. In this case, we are fulfilling agreements that we have with our Turkish colleagues. You know that the contract is being fulfilled. This will be continued,” Peskov said.

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