Turkish official casts doubt on report of new Russian air defence sale

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Russia and Turkey signed a deal to send a second batch of S-400 air defense systems to Ankara, a Russian state news agency said on Tuesday, but a Turkish defense official immediately cast doubt on the report.

The TASS news agency quoted Dmitry Shugayev, head of Russia’s military cooperation service, as saying: “I want to note that the relevant agreement has already been signed. It envisages the localization of production of some components of the system.”

Turkey’s early 2020 purchase of the Russian S-400 system angered the United States, a NATO ally, which retaliated by imposing sanctions on Turkey.

Register now for free unlimited access to Reuters.com

A Turkish defense official said on Tuesday that “there are no new contracts”.

“The original contract signed with Russia for the purchase of S400s already included two batches. The purchase of the second batch was included in the original plan and related contract,” the official said.

The official added: “Technical talks are ongoing regarding the delivery of the second batch, and these issues include, but are not limited to, the participation of Turkish engineering in the system, which components will be manufactured in Turkey, etc. So, we have no concrete developments to report. The process is ongoing and There are no new contracts.”

Any new defense deal between Russia and Turkey would raise serious concerns from Washington at a time when it is trying to isolate Russia and maintain NATO unity in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey and Russia signed their first agreement in December 2017 on the delivery of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, worth about $2.5 billion. Turkey received the first delivery in July 2019.

In response, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry in December 2020 and expelled Ankara from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program, where it was a producer and buyer. Ankara says the moves were unjustified.

Turkey has not joined Western sanctions against Russia but has been active in mediation efforts since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. He was instrumental in brokering an agreement last month to resume Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.

Register now for free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay, Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Alex Richardson

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

Source link

Leave a Comment