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US ultimatum unlikely to change Turkey’s position on S-400 deal, says Russian lawmaker

Vladimir Gutenev presumed that this was the US last attempt "to force Turkey to make an extremely disadvantageous and politically dangerous decision and it will fail"

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The fulfillment of the US ultimatum to give up the purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems will weaken Turkey and thus the Turkish authorities are unlikely to sever their deal with Russia, Chairman of the State Duma Commission for Legal Support of the Defense Industry Development Vladimir Gutenev told TASS on Wednesday.

"I believe that most likely this will be an unsuccessful attempt for the United States [to disrupt the purchase of S-400 systems] because it is absolutely unacceptable for the largest and reputable regional power," he said, adding that a concession for the US would weaken the government of Turkish President Recep Erdogan and "this may have fatal consequences for the dynamically developing Turkish economy," the legislator said.

In the lawmaker’s opinion, "it is this outrageous form, which implies that if Turkey gives up the S-400 deal, this precedent will be used for other attempts to influence both the Turkish economy and politics."

"I mean the South Stream, the construction of the nuclear power plant, Turkey’s position on terrorists in Syria and a host of other issues," the legislator said.

The Russian lawmaker also presumed that this was the US last attempt "to force Turkey to make an extremely disadvantageous and politically dangerous decision and it will fail."

In Gutenev’s opinion, "if for unbelievable reasons Turkey had decided to commit a political suicide, the waiting list of potential customers for the S-400s is so big that Russia will not lose anything."

The US-based CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing sources in the US Department of State that Turkey has a little more than two weeks to decide on whether to complete an arms deal with the United States on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets or go through an agreement to buy S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia. Otherwise, Ankara will face extremely negative consequences, Washington warned.

The United States demands that Ankara cancel the S-400 deal by the end of the first week of June. This US offer is final and there will be no other postponements, CNBC’s sources stressed.

Contract with Turkey

The first reports about the talks between Russia and Turkey on the deliveries of S-400 air defense missile systems emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed in September 2017 that the relevant contract had been signed. Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said that the deployment of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems would begin in October 2019. Rostec CEO Chemezov said in December 2017 that the S-400 deal was worth $2.5 billion.

The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations.

The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.