03:41 GMT19 June 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Turkey’s deployment of Russian S-400 air defence systems would be devastating for the US F-35 fighter programme, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger said at an event on Thursday.

    "Completion of this transaction would be devastating, not only to the F-35 programme… It would potentially rupture Turkish interoperability with NATO, a key aspect of the defence of the Alliance and let’s be clear — the S-400 is a Russian system designed to shoot down an aircraft like the F-35. And it is inconceivable to imagine Russia not taking advantage of that collection opportunity", Wheelbarger said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

    Wheelbarger stressed that the S-400 deal is a transaction that the United States cannot allow to happen.

    Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic said that US F-35 fighter jets would not be in the coverage area of Russian S-400 air defence systems deployed to Turkey.

    READ MORE: US F-35s Won't Be in Coverage Area of Russian S-400 Systems — Turkish Ambassador

    Washington has reportedly given Ankara until the end of the first week of June to either abandon the S-400 deal with Russia or face penalties, which would include sanctions, removal from Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet programme and cancelling the delivery of 100 F-35 jets.

    Ankara has insisted that it is not going to give up its $2.5 billion S-400 contract with Moscow. The first batch of the S-400 system is expected to be delivered to Turkey in July.


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    Turkish Troops Learning in Russia to Operate S-400 Despite US Threats - Minister
    S-400, F-35, Pentagon, Turkey, US, Russia
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