ANKARA, April 30. /TASS/. The implementation of the S-400 deal has been delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.
"There has been a delay because of the coronavirus but it will move forward as it was planned," he said at an online meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council.
He added that Ankara was also willing to purchase Patriot missiles from the United States.
US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus earlier said that Washington was "deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is continuing its efforts to bring the S-400 into operation."
Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. The deliveries of S-400 launchers to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.
The United States and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on numerous occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey, if Ankara presses ahead with the S-400 deal. On July 17, 2019, the press secretary of the US White House said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US program of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber impossible.
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 weapons, 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.