Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency quoted Ankara’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying that Russia’s installation of its advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems will begin in October of 2019. Turkey, a NATO member state since 1952, purchased Russia’s advanced S-400 systems, after its deteriorating relationship with the West had bolstered its relations with Moscow. The move, however, has unnerved the United States and other NATO members, as Russia is accused by the West of violating an important Cold War-era missile agreement, called INF: Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s declared intention to pull out of the 1987 INF, by warning that if the U.S. would deploy additional nuclear missiles in Europe, Russia would target the nations hosting them. Putin stressed that he hoped the United States did not plan to put the kind of missiles the treaty banned in Europe, if it does withdraw from the pact – warning European states that deploying American missiles would expose their territory to the threat of a possible retaliatory strike.