Turkey receives first Russian missile shipment, defying US

Turkey receives first Russian missile shipment, defying US
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A shipment of a Russian-made missile system arrived in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday, which could cause tensions with the U.S. after the Defense Department said that sanctions could be issued against the NATO ally if they accepted the weapons shipment.

The S-400 air defense missile shipment arrived at the Murted Air Base, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Friday that the Pentagon was aware of the delivery.


The decision to purchase the missile fortified ties between the Turkish and Russian governments.

The U.S. has said, however, that Turkey's desire for Russian missiles could prevent it from receiving F-35 fighter jets they were supposed to get in a deal with the U.S.

"Our position regarding the F-35 has not changed," Esper told reporters prior to meeting with Uzbekistan's Minister of Defense at the Pentagon.

He added that he will speak with Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Friday afternoon.

U.S. officials fear the missile system could be used to gather intelligence on the F-35. 

"It is up to allies to decide what military equipment they buy. However, we are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey's decision to acquire the S-400 system," a NATO official told CNN.

The Defense Department last month laid out penalties that Turkey could face, including sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), for receiving the missile shipment. 

“There is strong bipartisan U.S. Congressional determination to see CAATSA sanctions imposed on Turkey if Turkey acquires the S-400,” wrote then-acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanProgressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper House Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis MORE. “President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE committed to boost bilateral trade from $20 billion currently to more than $75 billion, however that may be challenging if the United States imposes CAATSA sanctions.”

--Ellen Mitchell contributed to this report, which was updated at 3:33 p.m.