Russia has offered to sell Saudi Arabia the same missile defense it sold Iran and Turkey after U.S. systems failed to detect or intercept a recent attack on key oil sites in the kingdom.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was “ready to provide appropriate assistance to Saudi Arabia” in the wake of attacks claimed Saturday by the Yemeni Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebel group known as Ansar Allah, or the Houthis, against the Abqaiq oil-processing site and Khurais oil field.
Putin said Saudi Arabia could better protect itself “by making a wise state decision, as Iran has already done in buying the S-300 Russian missile system and as [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has already done in buying the S-400 Russian missile system.”
Putin made the offer during a tripartite meeting alongside his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Ankara, hours after the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis in Yemen alleged that Iranian weapons were used in Saturday’s strikes and were launched from outside of Yemen. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed Iran itself was behind the attack, something Tehran has denied.
The U.S. has an extensive network of military assets in the Persian Gulf region separating Iran from Saudi Arabia and its allies on the Arabian Peninsula, including several Patriot missile defense systems. These weapons have failed to intercept previous Houthi strikes closer to the battlefield in the west, nor did they prevent the latest attacks deep in Saudi Arabia’s east.
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