US to Turkey: Dump the S-400 Russian missiles; more sanctions likely

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The US has called Turkey once again to remove the S-400 Russian missiles which triggered a series of sanctions and warned that any new dealings with the Russian defence industry carries the risk of additional sanctions under the federal law Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), said a US State Department spokesperson on Wednesday.

The spokesperson was responding to Greek reporters who asked about the neighbouring country’s use of the Russian S-400 missile system, in the wake of Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s statement that Ankara intends to continue to use the system.

The US State Department’s stance on the issue – that the Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment – remains unchanged, the spokesperson stressed, adding that the missile system threatens the security of NATO technology, and its use is inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO ally. In addition, despite Turkey’s being an important NATO ally, the acquisition of the S-400s directly contradicts commitments made by all NATO allies at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw to reduce dependence on Russian equipment.

The US State Department official noted that as Turkey’s sizeable procurement of S-400s from Russia has already triggered CAATSA sanctions under US law, he urged Turkey not to keep the S-400s.

Türkiye and all US partners and allies are also urged to avoid future purchases of weapons that provide Russia with revenue, reach and influence. Any such transactions, it was highlighted, could be subject to additional CAATSA sanctions.