US officials have quietly offered Turkey to transfer its Russian-supplied S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine for use against Russian aircraft, USNews reported.
The suggestion was made over the past month with Turkish officials but no specific or formal request was made, the sources told Reuters.
They said it was also briefly mentioned during Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Turkey earlier this month.
The Biden administration has asked allies that used Russian-made equipment and systems, including S-300s and S-400s, to consider moving them to Ukraine as it tries to repel a Russian invasion that has started on February 24.
The idea, which analysts said would certainly be rejected by Turkey, was part of a larger discussion between Sherman and Turkish officials about how the United States and its allies can do more to support Ukraine. and how to improve bilateral relations.
Turkish authorities have not commented on any US suggestion or proposal regarding the transfer to Ukraine of Ankara’s S-400 systems, which have long been a point of contention between the two NATO allies.
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.
Turkish sources and analysts said such a suggestion would be a no-start for Turkey, citing issues ranging from technical obstacles to installing and operating the S-400s in Ukraine, to political concerns. such as the backlash Ankara would likely face from Moscow.
Washington has repeatedly asked Ankara to get rid of Russian-made surface-to-air missile batteries since the first delivery arrived in July 2019. The United States has imposed sanctions on the Turkish defense industry and withdrew NATO member Turkey from the F-35. fighter aircraft program accordingly.
Ankara said it was forced to opt for the S-400s because the allies failed to provide weapons on satisfactory terms.
Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and enjoys good relations with both. He said the invasion was unacceptable and expressed support for Ukraine, but also opposed sanctions on Moscow while offering mediation.
Ankara has carefully crafted its rhetoric so as not to offend Moscow, analysts say, with whom it has close ties in energy, defense and tourism. But Ankara has also sold military drones to kyiv and signed a deal to co-produce more, angering the Kremlin. Turkey also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of Crimea in 2014.