Alwaght- Moscow condemned as unacceptable US ultimatum to Turkey intended to force the country to cancel a deal to purchase Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and purchase US Patriot missile systems instead.
Russia was responding to a CNBC report which said Washington had given Turkey just over two weeks to scrap the Russian deal and do an arms deal with the United States instead or risk severe penalties.
Ankara's $2.5 billion defense deal with Moscow enraged Washington, which threatened its NATO ally with all kinds of sanctions while offering to substitute the Russian systems with Patriot batteries – a carrot Ankara has been reluctant to accept. At the same time, Washington threatened to block the delivery of some 100 F-35 jets purchased by Turkey, and terminate its participation in the F-35 program. Ankara, having invested some $1.25 billion in the trillion-dollar program, is a vital partner, producing parts of fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays for the jets.
When asked about the CNBC report by reporters on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
“We regard this extremely negatively. We consider such ultimatums to be unacceptable, and we are going on the many statements made by representatives of Turkey’s leadership headed by President (Tayyip) Erdogan that the S-400 deal is already complete and will be implemented.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday US will ‘sooner or later’ have to reconcile the reality and understand that his country's purchase of Russian S-400 systems is a done deal, suggesting that Ankara will also receive American F-35 fighter jets.
“We’re done with the S-400. There is absolutely no question of stepping back on the S-400. It is a defense system, not an attack system,” Erdogan said , stressing that first deliveries of the Russian anti-aircraft weapon system are expected in July.
Moreover, Turkey’s defense minister said on Wednesday that Ankara was preparing for potential US sanctions over its purchase of the Russian missile system even though he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.