- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2018

A top Russian official on Monday slammed the U.S. for interfering in foreign arms deals, castigating the Trump administration for pressuring Turkey to abandon its plans to buy a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Washington’s strategy of issuing “ultimatums and threats” to other nations in an effort to influence global arms deals is wrong, and that countries ultimately will ignore U.S pressure and do what they want.

Individual nations “will not agree to subjecting their right to trade with whom they want and what they want to ultimatums and threats, as is now the case with contracts for the supply of Russian weapons to a number of states, for example, Turkey, Indonesia and India, when Washington openly requires refusal of these contracts,” said Mr. Lavrov, as quoted by the Turkish news agency Anadolu.

The comments come just days after Congress formally barred deliveries of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes to Turkey, squashing a deal that Turkish leaders said had been personally approved by U.S. President Trump.

At the same time, the U.S. has put public pressure on Turkey to scrap plans to buy the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, arguing that such a deal would draw Russia and Turkey closer together and would represent a de facto approval of Moscow’s actions in the Middle East, including its support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

“We are concerned that purchasing these systems from the Russians will be supportive of their actions,” Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Tina Kaidanow told reporters earlier this month.

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