Russia will start implementing a contract on delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey in early 2020, the country’s presidential aide for military cooperation told the state-run TV channel Rossiya 24.
“Turkey expressed a wish to accelerate its implementation and we managed to find the most appropriate solution as we agreed to accelerate the contract’s implementation, so I think we will begin to fulfill it sometime in early 2020,” Vladimir Kozhin told the media.
Commenting on the US pressure on Turkey to force it to abandon an idea to buy the Russian missile systems, Kozhin said that “the contract has been signed and will be implemented.”
“As far as Turkey is concerned, we value the Turkish authorities’ position, as they have said many times that protecting national interests is their top priority,” he said.
The official added that the operation in Syria allowed to test “almost all the newly designed weapons and military equipment, including the Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft, short-range air defense systems and anti-tank complexes.”
In an exclusive interview with the Zeit newspaper, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the decision to by S-400 systems had been prompted by the reluctance of its NATO allies, primarily the US, to sell advanced weaponry to Turkey.
“We needed it urgently because we did not have an air defense system. We even had troubles with buying simple rifles from the US due to concerns of the Congress. We had to buy it from someone,” the minister said.
The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced Russian air defense system. It’s designed to engage aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400km and ballistic missiles up to 60km away. It can use four interceptor missile types suited to different targets.