Russia has finalized an agreement with Turkey on the sale of the S-400 air defense missile system.
Vladimir Kozhin, a presidential aide who oversees Russia’s matters of military cooperation, said Thursday that the deal was now finalized and Moscow would begin delivery of the system to Ankara in late 2019.
“The first deliveries are likely to begin at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020,” Kozhin said.
He said no more issues remained about the deal, which was discussed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the former’s visit to Ankara on December 11.
“All aspects have been resolved over the past few days … All parameters, all technologies, the entire deal has been agreed … Practically speaking, the contract is entering the phase of realization,” he said.
The official added that Russia would grant a credit to Turkey to help finance the deal.
“The contract will consist of two parts financially: part of it will be paid by Turkey and part through a credit provided by Russia,” Kozhin said about the agreement which has been valued at about $2 billion.
The deal comes as Turkey has been establishing closer relations with Russia after it experienced glitches in its relations with Western governments following a crackdown in the country over the July 2016 coup attempt.
The alliance originally reacted skeptically to the decision, saying the system was not compatible with its equipment.
However, the Pentagon said recently that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system, the most significant deal Ankara has signed with a non-NATO military supplier, was generally “a good idea” as it was inter-operable with the military alliance’s other systems.
The S-400 is Russia’s latest surface-to-air missile defense batteries. Moscow aims to sell the system to Saudi Arabia, with Kozhin saying Thursday that the deal with Riyadh could also be finalized before the end of the year.