World War 3: Turkey signs deal for Russian S-400 missiles – in defiance of Trump

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The news was reported by state news agency Tass today, with Alexander Mikheyev, chief executive of state arms seller Rosoboronexport, saying both sides were now discussed how the missiles would be paid for. He told reporters: “The contract has been signed.

“The financial arrangement of implementing the contract” was now being discussed, Mr Mikheyev said.

The length of time it would take for the missiles to arrive depended “on our partners’ readiness to finally resolve the procedural issues with the financing of this project”, he added.

Three years ago, Russia confirmed a £1.9billion deal with Turkey for the first consignment of S-400s.

Tass describes the S-400 Triumf as “the most advanced long-range air defence missile system”, in service since 2007.

The Triumf is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range weapons.

It can also be used against ground installations.

The S-400 has a range of 250 miles and can engage targets at a maximum altitude of 12.5 miles.

Turkey is the first NATO state to invest in the missile system.

Allies including the US are concerned at the potential security implications of having Russian technology operating alongside that of a fellow member of the alliance.

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The US Government has vowed to hit Turkey with sanctions if it does not comply.

Mr Trump is believed to have written to Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, personally on at least two occasions urging him to scrap the deal – only to be bluntly rebuffed.

Mr Erdogan, speaking after a meeting at the White House last November, said: “We agreed to seek solutions to the S-400 issue.

“I explained to Trump once again how we came to the point of buying S-400s.

“I told him that we could not give up on the S-400s and that Turkey will not turn back.”

At the time, Mr Erdogan also said Turkey would seek fighter jets elsewhere if Washington continued to block its planned purchases of US-built F-35s.

Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “I will work with my colleagues to ensure there is zero chance that F-35s will leave the United States for Turkey while Erdogan possesses the S-400 missile system.

“In addition, if he is firm in his position on keeping the S-400s, I intend to move forward with a Turkey sanctions bill.

“It is his choice, and he knows the consequences.”

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