Russia ready to sell high-tech missile system to Turkey


Prior to the potential S-400 deal, Turkey has only purchased relatively minor weaponry from Russia

The Russian S-400 missile system can hit 36 targets at once at distances of 400km (AFP)
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Last update: 
Thursday 1 June 2017 16:23 BST

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia stands ready to sell Turkey advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and had discussed the matter with Ankara, the TASS news agency reported.

TASS said Putin made the comments to international media at an economic forum in St Petersburg.

"We discussed the possibility of selling S-400s [to Turkey]. We are ready for this," Putin said.

"At the moment, we don't produce those systems abroad. We are ready to deliver these newest and most efficient systems. President [Recep Tayip] Erdogan and our countries’ militaries are aware of it," he added.

The S-400, which is called the S1-Growler by Nato, is designed to hit 36 targets at once at distances of 400km away.

If the sale goes through, it would mark the first time that Turkey has bought high-tech military equipment from Russia since an arms agreement was made after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Turkey currently relies on Nato-deployed missile batteries for long-range defence and any S-400 bought by Turkey would not be able to intergrate into the NATO system. 

Prior to the potential S-400 deal, Turkey has only bought minor weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenades from Russia.

Russia first participated in a Turkish military tender for attack helicopters in 1995, but failed with its joint Israeli bid.

Russian forces deployed S-400s to Syria last year to protect its bases, however the system failed to detect or disrupt a US Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a Syrian government airbase in April, prompting consternation among Russian defence experts.

Meanwhile, Russia is open to discussing partially lifting its ban on tomato imports from Turkey provided the move does not harm its own farmers or investors, agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev told Reuters on Thursday.

In a bid to resolve a trade row with Russia, Ankara has proposed that Moscow lift a ban on imported Turkish tomatoes during periods when Russian farmers are unable to grow their own.