GR US

Russian Ambassador Says Missile Defense for Turkey No Threat to Greece

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this file photo taken on Sunday, May 7, 2017, Russian the S-400 air defense missile systems drive during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

ATHENS - Russia's Ambassador to Greece, Andrey Maslov, defended his country’s plans to sell an S-400 missile defense system to Turkey - which also wants US-made F-35 fighter jets - and said it would not be a threat to Greece.

Turkey and Greece are members of NATO but Turkish fighter jets have repeatedly violated Greek airspace without a word from the defense alliance whose leader, former Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg, said he wants no part of it.

The US is also anxious that the Russian missile defense system in Turkish hands could compromise NATO defenses, including those of Greece, and the US fighter jets that have been held up for now.

Greek-American and Diaspora groups and Congressional supporters of Greece, including U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who visited Greece and Cyprus, want to prohibit Turkey from being able to buy the F-35s but President Donald Trump has been keen on selling American armaments.

Speaking to the state-run broadcaster, Maslov said Russia is not violating any international agreement, in terms of weapons, by selling the state-of-the-art system to a member of a defense alliance aimed at countering his country.

He said the system is defensive and reminded that Russia has previously sold the S-300 system to Greece to be put on Cyprus in a response to Turkish aggression and with Turkey still occupying the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion.