The Kremlin on Wednesday condemned as unacceptable an alleged US ultimatum to Turkey designed to force it to cancel a deal to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and purchase US Patriot missile systems instead.
Moscow 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.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts, including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says the Russian deal, if it goes ahead, would jeopardize Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter 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 [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan that the S-400 deal is already complete and will be implemented.”
Turkey’s defense minister said earlier 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. [Reuters]