At least 13 countries have expressed interest in buying a Russian missile system instead of platforms made by American companies, despite the potential for triggering U.S. sanctions, according to people with first-hand knowledge of a U.S. intelligence assessment.
One of the people, who declined to be named, said that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Vietnam, and Iraq have all discussed buying the S-400 missile system from Russia. However, the U.S. expects that a handful of countries will fold to diplomatic pressure.
China, India and Turkey have already signed purchase agreements with the Kremlin. China, which is embroiled in a trade battle with the U.S., is in the middle of receiving their final shipment of the S-400 system.
“Russia appears to be using air defense sales within much bigger political and economic frameworks,” Karako said. “In some cases, the purchase of S-400 looks a bit like what the ancient Romans called tribute.”