S-400 deal with Russia done for $2.5 bln: Gov’t

S-400 deal with Russia done for $2.5 bln: Gov’t

MOSCOW - Reuters
S-400 deal with Russia done for $2.5 bln: Gov’t

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Dec. 27 that a deal was reached with Russia over the purchase of two S-400 defense missile systems and four batteries, confirming a top Russian representative’s comments.

Russia will supply Turkey with four batteries of S-400 surface-to-air missiles for $2.5 billion under a deal that is almost complete, Sergei Chemezov, head of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, told the Kommersant daily on Dec. 27.

Chemezov told Kommersant that Turkey was the first NATO member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system.

He said the Russian and Turkish finance ministries had already completed talks on financing the deal and that the final documents just needed to be approved.

Canikli confirmed the report, noting that Ankara would purchase two S-400 systems and four batteries and that all agreements were made, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

He said that the financial aspect of the contracts was the last hurdle that was needed to overcome in meetings between the two countries and all agreements were made.

“Do we use a loan? Or finance the deal by ourselves? In the end we have agreed on covering some part of the deal with credit after negotiations. Other than this, the deal was already finalized,” he told reporters in Tunis.

Turkey will pay 45 percent of the cost up front with Russia providing loans to cover the remaining 55 percent, Chemezov also said.

Moscow expects to begin the first deliveries in March 2020, he also said.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had discussed the deal during Putin’s visit to Ankara early in December.

The agreement to purchase the latest Russian surface-to-air missile defense batteries is Turkey’s most significant deal with a non-NATO military supplier, and comes amid strained relations between Ankara and several Western countries.

Turkey’s decision to buy the Russian system has raised hostility from NATO members, with the Pentagon saying previously that “generally it’s a good idea” to buy equipment that is interoperable with the military alliance’s other systems.