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US warns Turkey about serious consequences if it operationalizes Russian S400 systems

The United States hopes Turkey will not operationalize Russian S-400 missile systems

WASHINGTON, October 16. /TASS/. The United States hopes Turkey will not operationalize Russian S-400 missile systems, otherwise it will face serious consequences in the area of security relations, US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told TASS on Friday.

"The United States has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalized. We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system," she said.

According to the spokesperson, the United States "would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch," if reports about such tests are verified, as such test launch is "incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States."

"We are aware of these reports [about the test launch]. The United States has expressed to the Government of Turkey, at the most senior levels, that the acquisition of Russian military systems such as the S-400 is unacceptable." She added.

A military diplomatic source told TASS earlier on Friday that Turkey had tested the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems for the first time during drills near the town of Sinop in the country’s north.

Russia’s state arms trader Rosobornexport refrained from comments.

The Turkish Navy’s Office of Oceanography reported on October 14 that Ankara planned to hold firings during drills on October 16-17. The news agency Reuters reported on Friday that missile launches had been conducted during the drills.

Russia said in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 bln contract for supplies of its S-400 missile systems with Turkey. The first batch under the contract was delivered to Ankara by air transport in July 2019. The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.

Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air defense missile systems from Russia. Turkey’s decision to acquire the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems has caused a sharply negative reaction from the United States and NATO as a whole, with the United States never stopping to press Turkey to give up its plans to by the Russian missile systems. As Turkey has not yielded to the pressure, Washington has excluded Ankara from the US program of developing the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber.

The United States is also threatening Turkey with unilateral sanctions over the purchase of S-400 air defense systems but is in no hurry to take these steps out of fear of further worsening relations with a major NATO ally while Ankara has warned it will not leave such restrictions unanswered.

Russia’s S-400 ‘Triumf’ (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km under intensive enemy fire and jamming.