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Russia offers Turkey Su-57 after failed F-35 deal with U.S.

By Clyde Hughes
Russia offers Turkey Su-57 after failed F-35 deal with U.S.
A Russian-made Sukhoi 57 fighter jet flies over the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon near Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is offering his military's new Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet to Turkey, since the nation is no longer allowed to buy the new U.S.-made F-35 Lightning II.

Putin made the offer to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday at the MAKS-2019 International Air Show in Moscow. The Kremlin leader and Erdogan were joined by their defense ministers at the show, while inspecting the cockpit of an Su-57 fighter on display.

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Turkey, a NATO nation, was barred from buying Lockheed Martin's new F-35 from the United States when it bought a Russian air-defense system last month, in the face of warnings from the Trump administration.

"Erdogan is a pragmatic politician who understands that Russia's S-400 systems or Sukhoi Su-57 jets are not just cheaper," Russian Defense and Security Committee member Franz Klintsevich said.

"They also superior to their American counterparts as far as quality goes. Ankara is interested in friendly ties with Moscow due to geopolitical factors, because Russia's clout on the global stage is growing."

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When asked about the availability of the Su-57, Putin told Erdogan, "You can buy."

Turkey was ready to buy about 100 F-35s from the United States, but the deal fell apart in July when Ankara paid Russia for nine S-400 systems. Russian officials say the system can destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at a distance of 250 miles and altitude of 20 miles.

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