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Russia’s arms producer says Turkey will receive S-400 missile system in 2019

Russia will commence delivering its advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile defence system to Turkey next year, a report says, much to the ire of Ankara’s NATO allies, particularly the United States.

On Tuesday, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as announcing the news, adding that the state intermediary agency would also switch to using local currencies instead of the US dollar in deals with foreign trade partners.

Back on April 3, Turkish President Rajab Tayyib Erdoghan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of S-400 missile systems. At the time it was said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.

The S-400 system, whose full name is the Triumph Mobile Multiple Anti-Aircraft Missile System (AAMS), is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 km away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.

Washington has time and again warned Turkey against the consequences of its decision to buy the S-400 missile batteries from Russia, saying the White House could slap Ankara with sanctions over such a purchase.

Turkey is striving to strengthen its air defence capabilities, particularly after the US decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from the Anatolian country’s border with Syria, a move that notably weakened Turkey’s air defence.

Before gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly withdrew from a $3.4 billion contract for a similar Chinese system after purported pressure from Washington.