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epa04221840 (FILE) A file photo dated 28 January 2014 of President of Russia Vladimir Putin attending a news conference at the end of a EU Russia Summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, where he was meeting with top European Union officials. European Union officials have been preparing three scenarios for economic sanctions against Russia, from low-intensity measures affecting items such as luxury goods, to a ban on oil and gas imports, according to a document seen by German news agency dpa. During recent weeks, the European Commission in consultation with member states, reportedly has been preparing a three-stage list of possible economic sanctions if Russia continues to destabilize its western neighbour Ukraine. The issue could come up again when EU leaders meet on 27 May 2014 to consider their response to the 25 May elections in Ukraine. EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Turkey firm on missile purchase from Russia

Turkey is going ahead with a purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system, a Turkish parliamentarian said ahead of an informal Friday deadline which a U.S. official said Washington has set for Ankara to respond to a rival U.S. offer.

NATO member Turkey has repeatedly said it is committed to buying the Russian missile defense system, despite warnings from the U.S.-led alliance that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defense system.

Volkan Bozkir, chairman of Turkey’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, said Ankara would remain loyal to its S-400 deal with Russia as Turkish authorities needed the system to address security concerns.

“With regard to Patriots, if the opportunity is at a level we desire, we have expressed we could also buy those too,” he said during a visit to Washington, adding Turkey’s relations with Russia and the United States are both important.

“Just because … Russia has issues with another country that we care very much about – the resolving of that issue via Turkey would not be right,” he told reporters.

He said Ankara had already paid the bulk of the price for the S-400s and the systems are expected to arrive in November.

U.S. officials have said that if Turkey proceeds with the S-400 purchase, Washington will withdraw its offer to sell a $3.5 billion Raytheon Co Patriot missile package.

They have also said it would jeopardize Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets and possibly result in the United States imposing sanctions.

The formal U.S. offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires at the end of March, U.S. officials told Reuters, after which a new offer would have to be submitted.

The United States has asked Turkey to give at least an informal answer on whether they will go ahead with their S-400 purchase by Friday, one U.S. official said.

Source: Reuters

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