Senators call for sanctions over S-400 deal

Eleven U.S. senators have called for sanctions to be imposed on countries, amongst them Turkey, that purchase the Russian S-400 air defence system.

In a letter to John Sullivan, U.S. deputy secretary of state, dated 16th March, the senators ask whether deals involving the S-400 system will trigger mandatory sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). 

They also request that a summary be provided detailing U.S. efforts to prevent sales of the S-400 system from being finalized, adding that, “Under any circumstance, a S-400 sale would be considered a “significant transaction and we expect that any sale would result in designations.”

Five countries are mentioned in the context of S-400 deals, including NATO member Turkey, which signed a deal to buy the weapons system from Russia last year.

The letter also expresses concern that the Trump administration is not making sufficient diplomatic efforts to implement CAATSA.

Turkey’s deal to buy the S-400 system has aroused concerns amongst other NATO states. Amongst them are worries that the Russian system will not be interoperable with existing Turkish military equipment, most of which comes from the West. There have been concerns Russia would exploit the sale to gain valuable data relating to NATO weapons systems.

The senators’  letter comes a day after the Treasury Department used CAATSA legislation to impose sanctions on five Russian entities and 19 individuals for their alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and other “malicious cyber attacks.”