Russia starts delivery of S-400 to Turkey as US ramps up pressure on Ankara over deal

TEHRAN, Jul. 12 (MNA) – Turkey has received the first shipment of S-400 air defense missile system equipment from Moscow, defying pressure from Washington to scrap the arms deal with Russia.

The Turkish Defence Ministry reported on Friday that the first batch of Russian S-400 missile defence system components was effectively delivered to Turkey.

"First batch of equipment of S-400 missile defense system, which is procured to meet Turkey's air and missile defense need, has started to arrive at Murted Air Base in Ankara as of July 12, 2019," the ministry said on Twitter, according to Anadolu Agency. 

Turkey and Russian signed a contract for the delivery of four S-400 batteries in 2017. The contract earned Ankara the ongoing row with Washington, which strongly opposes the deal, claiming the purchase of advanced Russian-made weapons undermines the security of NATO and goes against American interests, Russia Today said.

In order to pressure Ankara into dropping the contract with Russia, the US suspended the shipment of fifth generation F-35 jet fighters to Turkey. Last month, the Pentagon revealed plans to phase out Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program altogether by July 31. A senior US defense official told Reuters that Ankara should brace for 'ramifications' for its economy as well, if it sticks to the S-400 agreement with Moscow.

Turkey has repeatedly rebuffed calls from the US to scrap the deal, saying it is free to choose the countries it buys weapons from. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said excluding the nation from the F-35 program would be “robbery,” since Ankara has already invested money in it.

MNA/PR

News Code 147539

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