Russia has rejected media reports claiming that Turkey was planning to expel Russian technical experts accompanying the contract on the S-400 missile system to appease the United States.
"The return of Russian technical experts who are in Turkey in connection with the S-400 contract will be carried out in accordance with a previously approved schedule,” Valeria Reshetnikova, Russian Federal Service of Military‑Technical Cooperation spokeswoman, told Sputnik.
However, a presidential spokesman indicated that some experts may have returned after completing their part of the mission to train Turkish operators of the S-400.
“All our specialists who were there return to their homeland in a planned manner. They have completed all the training of the Turkish personnel, the transfer of all cases, they are returning in a planned manner. It is wrong and incorrect to present it as some kind of expulsion, ”said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, answering questions from journalists.
“The S-400s will be under our 100% control. We’ve sent many technicians for training. The Russian military experts won’t stay in Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusolgu said on a visit to Greece, state-run TRT television reported Monday. But he rejected U.S. calls on Turkey not to activate the missiles. “It is not possible to accept calls from another country to ‘not use’ them,” he said.
The remarks come ahead of a planned meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels mid-June.