US State Department: Crete's S-300 defence system do not fall under sanctions regime


There is no risk of sanctions for the S-300 anti-missile system located in Crete, the State Department clarified.

Responding to a related question from the Hellas Journal website, a representative of the US Department of State explained that the presence of the system in Greece does not fall under the sanctions provided for by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

"The acquisition of S-300s by Greece took place in the 1990s, decades before the adoption of the CAATSA law. Section 231 of the CAATSA Act imposes only significant transactions that occurred on or after August 2, 2017," a State Department spokesperson said.

"We continue to encourage all NATO allies to ensure full interoperability within the alliance," the spokesman added.

Greece denied claims by Turkey that the Greek Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles locked on to Turkish F-16 fighter jets carrying out a reconnaissance mission in international airspace.

On Sunday, citing sources in the Turkish Defence Ministry, the country’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, reported that the radar of the Russian-made Greek S-300 missile system based on the island of Crete locked onto the Turkish jets.

According to the Anadolu report citing Turkish defense sources, the incident took place on August 23rd when Greece’s S-300 missile system put a lock on Turkish F-16 jets flying at ten thousand feet west of Rhodes.

That was “incompatible with the spirit of [NATO] alliance” and amounted to “hostile acts” under the NATO rules of engagement, the sources added.

“Despite this hostile action, [Turkish jets completed their planned missions and returned to their base safely,” it was said.

Greek military sources dismissed the report later on Sunday.

“Greece’s S-300 missile system has never put a lock on Turkish F-16 jets”, the sources said, according to state-run ERT television.

“Interceptions are carried out by our military aircraft in line with international rules of engagement,” the same sources added.

The Republic of Cyprus originally ordered the S-300s back in the mid-1990s. They were ultimately diverted to Greece after Turkey threatened to preemptively destroy them if they ever arrived on the divided island.

Greece put them in storage and later test-fired them in 2013 for the first time.

Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos ruled out the prospect of Greece transferring its S-300s to Ukraine in early June, proclaiming that Greece faces “a real threat” and would not transfer “what we need, what is useful, and mainly operationally active.”

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