(FILE PHOTO) This photo obtained from the Russian Defense Ministry’s official Facebook page on November 26, 2015 shows Russian S-400 air defense missile systems at Hmeimim Air Base in Syria’s Latakia province. (AFP PHOTO)
ANKARA, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) – Turkey and Russia on Friday signed a loan agreement in Ankara for the purchase of the S-400 missile defense system worth US $ 2.5 billion, said to Xinhua a Turkish official.
Russia will provide Turkey with four S-400 surface-to-air missile system batteries as part of the deal, and Turkey will pay 45% of the cost up front, with Moscow providing loans to cover the remaining 55%.
The two countries had reached an agreement on the purchase, but discussed a loan from Russia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will borrow the Russian ruble instead of the US dollar, so the debt will be cheaper for Ankara.
“We will not borrow above the dollar, we will borrow above the ruble. Treasury debt will be cheaper,” Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday.
By buying on the ruble, Turkey will save up to 3% of the total debt, he said.
The first delivery of the S-400 missile system is scheduled for March 2020.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
Turkey is the first NATO member country to purchase the S-400 missile system.