ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey received the first batch of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system yesterday, the Defence Ministry said, despite repeated warnings from its NATO ally United States (US) against the purchase.
“The delivery of the first shipment of parts of the S-400 long range regional air missile defence system began as of July 12, 2019 to Murted Air Base in Ankara,” the ministry said in a statement.
The delivery, which was made by plane, is likely to escalate tensions with the US after Washington warned this week that there would be “real and negative” consequences if Ankara bought the Russian defence system.
The US State Department has said that Turkish officials are fully aware of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law passed by Congress in 2017 that mandates sanctions for any “significant” purchases of weapons from Russia.
Washington has threatened to remove Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme, giving Ankara until July 31 to cancel the S-400 purchase or have its pilots kicked off the training course and expelled from the US.