ANKARA (Press TV) – Russia has strongly condemned U.S. pressure on Turkey over its purchase of advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems, describing Washington’s threats of sanctions over procurement of the military hardware as "unacceptable.”
"We consider this rhetoric unacceptable, since it is actually about pressure,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday.
She added, "There are examples of similar pressure by Washington on a number of other states, this is not only about Turkey, and not only about the S-400, and not only about topics related to Russia. In recent years, Washington has used sanctions policy in those issues where it is necessary to promote its own interests.”
"The policy of pressure is unacceptable in the existing coordinate system of international relations,” Zakharova pointed out.
Her remarks came a day after U.S. senators backed legislation to impose sanctions over its military offensive in northern Syria and the purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system.
The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-4 to send the "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019” for a vote in the full Senate.
Turkish Foreign Ministry, in return, denounced the sanctions bill on Thursday, terming it "a new manifestation of disrespect for our sovereign decisions regarding our national security.”
"These initiatives do not have any function other than to harm Turkish-US relations,” it said in a statement, calling on Congress to act with common sense.
On Wednesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said his country would not back out of the procurement of S-400 missile systems, and is currently in contact with its NATO allies, particularly the United States, to work out a solution to the matter.
"We repeatedly reiterate that the U.S. is our strategic partner, and we expect them to act in accordance with the spirit of strategic partnership. There is no such thing as giving up on this system anymore. We need to focus on finding a solution with the existence of this system,” Akar said in an interview with official Anadolu news agency.
He added that Ankara will continue its contacts with all relevant parties to handle disputes caused in the wake of S-400 purchase from Moscow.
Akar highlighted that Turkey has already taken delivery of two batteries of the S-400 system, and is now in the process of its installation.
The Turkish defense chief also said that relevant military personnel will complete their training for the activation of S-400 missile defense systems acquired from Russia by the end of December.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, which the United States says are not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusglu told CNN Turk television news network in an exclusive interview in mid-September that S-400 missile systems would be activated despite repeated US warnings.
"They (U.S. officials) told us ‘don’t activate them and we can sort this out’, but we told them that we didn’t buy these systems as a prop,” the top Turkish diplomat said, adding that Turkey would be open to buying US-made Patriot surface-to-air missile systems as well.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusglu told private Turkish-language TGRT Haber television news network in an exclusive interview back on July 22 that his country would take retaliatory measures in case the United States slapped sanctions on Ankara over the Russian-made systems.