Egypt is revealed to have been planning to provide Russia with tens of thousands of rockets, in a move which would have seen it aid Moscow in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine and risk relations with the United States.
According to the Washington Post, a leaked US intelligence document – amongst numerous classified files posted to the gaming platform, Discord – has uncovered secret negotiations between Cairo and Moscow, in which Egyptian President Abel Fattah El-Sisi and his government planned to transport 40,000 rockets to Russian forces.
The document, dated 17 February, reportedly shows discussion among Egyptian officials regarding how to supply the Russians with gunpowder and artillery from Egyptian factories, in which President El-Sisi orders officials to keep the weapon production secret in order “to avoid problems with the West”.
The mass production and weapons transfer plans did not appear to materialise in the past months, US security officials told the paper. If the plans and discussions are confirmed to be true, however, it is thought to potentially cause a rift in Egyptian-American relations, as it directly opposes US foreign policy interests by aiding Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
That would come as Washington continues to provide Cairo with over $1 billion in military aid annually, leading to predictions that the US government could attempt to impose measures against Egypt, including sanctions.
Egyptian ambassador to the US and spokesman for its Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Abu Zeid, told the paper that “Egypt’s position from the beginning is based on non involvement in this [Ukraine war] crisis and committing to maintain equal distance with both sides, while affirming Egypt’s support to the UN charter and international law in the UN General Assembly resolutions.” Abu Zeid stressed that “We continue to urge both parties to cease hostilities and reach a political solution through negotiations.”
An anonymous Egyptian official has since denied the reports and leak, telling the Al-Qahera News channel yesterday that they are “baseless and unfounded,” insisting that “Egypt adopts a balanced policy with all countries to preserve peace and stability.”