The Kremlin has abruptly suspended further S-400 deliveries to The People’s Republic of China (PRC), portending an early sign of strain in the burgeoning ‘strategic partnership’ between Russia and China.
As Russia’s premier missile defense system, the S-400 Triumf has generated widespread interest from high-profile importers over the past decade. In a substantial boon to Russia’s arms export industry, China became the first foreign buyer to give the Triumf a stamp of import approval as part of a $3 billion deal for the delivery of six S-400 battalions—a total of thirty-six launchers.
It was widely reported that the PRC received its first S-400 shipment in May 2018, but subsequent coverage by Russian and Chinese defense sources suggests that a handful of necessary components are still in the process of being delivered to the PRC. Moreover, reportedly Russia must also provide some onsite training and installation work before China’s S-400 systems can be fully deployed.