After stopping planned missile shipments to Russia, Egypt is still refusing US requests to instead arm Ukraine with artillery shells, antitank missiles, air defense systems and small arms, a WSJ report says.
Egypt initially considered sending rockets to Russia earlier this year but dropped those plans under US pressure, the Wall Street Journal reports. However, American requests for Egypt to instead supply weapons to Ukraine have so far been rebuffed.
“Egypt initially planned to send rockets to Russia but dropped that plan under pressure from the US earlier this year, the officials say,” the WSJ states, citing Egyptian and American officials.
According to the report, US officials including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked Egypt to provide arms to Ukraine when meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in March. “Austin made the request in March when the secretary of defense met Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, in Cairo. Egypt’s leaders were noncommittal at the time, and senior US officials have raised the request in multiple encounters since then, the officials said,” the Journal notes.
Among the materiel requested were artillery shells, antitank missiles, air-defense systems, and small arms, a US official told the paper. But while not outright rejecting the appeals, the WSJ says Egyptian officials indicated privately that Cairo has no intention to send the arms.
The report highlights Egypt’s close ties with Russia as a factor. “Sisi has a warm personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and attended a summit of African leaders in St. Petersburg in July,” it states. Egypt also depends heavily on Russian wheat imports.
Failure to supply the requested weapons has raised concerns in Congress over releasing $320 million in military aid to Egypt, the WSJ adds. Lawmakers argue leverage from that aid could press Cairo on human rights issues, even as the administration wants to rally global support for arming Ukraine.