U.S. sanctions Russian base set to train Turkish soldiers on S-400
The United States on Wednesday placed sanctions against a training centre of the Russian Armed Forces where Turkish military personnel are expected to train for the S-400 missile defence system, citing violations of accepted standards for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“A determination has been made that a number of foreign persons [individuals and legal entities] have engaged in activities that warrant the imposition of measures pursuant to Section 3 of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act,” said the notice published by the U.S. Department of State in the Federal Register.
Also on Wednesday, Turkey sent its first contingent of soldiers to Moscow to begin S-400 training, according to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, as reported by U.A.E. newspaper The National.
The sanctions against the Gatchina Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Training Centre and any ''successor, sub-unit, or subsidiary'' arrive as Turkey prepares to take delivery of Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile systems despite objections from its NATO allies, most notably the United States, who are concerned that the system could collect data on NATO military operations and undermine their defences.
Around 100 Turkish military servicemen are scheduled to undergo instruction in the operation and maintenance of the S-400 systems at the Russian Defense Ministry’s training centre in Gatchina, near St. Petersburg, Russian TASS news agency reported in October.
Multiple news sources in the United States on Tuesday reported that Washington has given Ankara until early June to either cancel its acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile system and buy U.S.-made Patriots or risk expulsion from an advanced F-35 U.S. fighter jet programme and U.S. sanctions.
A bipartisan U.S. House bill submitted last week calls for the termination of Turkey’s participation in F-35 production and a halt to delivery of F-35 aircraft to Turkey if Ankara pushes through with the purchase.
Ankara has repeatedly stated the S-400 is a done deal and it will not bow to U.S. pressure on the matter.