Russia and Turkey are close to signing a new contract to supply Ankara with additional S-400 air defense units in the near future, Reuters reported on Monday, citing the Interfax news agency.
Turkey’s initial purchase of S-400s from Russia strained ties with the United States and its NATO allies.
Despite warnings from the United States and other NATO allies, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brokered a deal worth $2.5 billion with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the S-400 missile system in 2017.
Despite Washington’s warnings and threats of US sanctions, Turkey started taking delivery of the first S-400s in July 2019. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 program, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.
The S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, is said to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform.
Washington imposed sanctions in December on Turkey’s military procurement agency as punishment for its purchase of the Russian-made missile defense system under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which mandates penalties for transactions deemed harmful to US interests.
Turkey’s Presidency of the Defense Industry (SSB), its chief İsmail Demir and three other officials were targeted by the sanctions, which include a ban on all US export licenses and authorizations to SSB as well as asset freezes and visa restrictions on Demir and the other individuals.
The US had also previously removed Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter development and training program over the S-400 purchase.
Washington still hopes to persuade its ally to “walk away” from the Russian systems.