American ally Egypt recently called for about 40,000 rockets to be made and shipped in secret to Russia, according to leaked intelligence docs obtained by the Washington Post.
The purported talks between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his top military leaders also indicate plans to give Russian forces artillery rounds and gunpowder, according to part of the highly classified document dated Feb. 17.
Sisi, whose country is a major recipient of US foreign aid, told officials to keep the production and shipment of rockets under wraps “to avoid problems with the West,” the Washington Post reported, citing the docs.
The move would come more than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
While it is unclear why Russia wants the rockets in the documents, the country has lost a notable amount of ammunition during the war.
“If it’s true that Sisi is covertly building rockets for Russia that could be used in Ukraine, we need to have a serious reckoning about the state of our relationship,” US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told the Washington Post, noting Egypt is one of the US’s oldest allies in the Middle East.
Michael Hanna, director of US programs at International Crisis Group, called the possible maneuver by Egypt “an embarrassment” for the US because President Biden has been pushing allies to deny Russia the arms needed for the war.
An unnamed US government official told the newspaper that officials were not aware the plan to ship rockets had happened.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said, “Egypt’s position from the beginning is based on noninvolvement in this 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.”
“We continue to urge both parties to cease hostilities and reach a political solution through negotiations,” he added.
The leaked documents are part of many classified files posted online in the last two months.
The Justice Department has opened a probe into the Pentagon leaks and the White House has warned reporters against publishing the sensitive materials.
Source : New York Post