The presence of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems on the island of Greek does not fall under the USA’s sanctions regime under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the State Department has said.
“The acquisition of S-300s by Greece took place in the 1990s, decades before the adoption of the CAATSA law. Section 231 of the CAATSA Act sanctions only significant transactions that occurred on or after August 2, 2017,” a State Department spokesperson said in response to a question from the Hellas Journal website.
“We continue to encourage all NATO allies to ensure full interoperability within the alliance,” the spokesperson said.
The Crete S-300 system was originally purchased by Cyprus in 1997, triggering a threat response from Turkey. Under pressure from Britain and NATO, Cyprus agreed to store the S-300 on the southern Greek island.
Turkey claims that the Crete S-300s locked on to Turkish jets carrying out a reconnaissance mission in international airspace on August 23.
Greece denies the accusations.