Ukraine, Putin | Planned arms sales to Putin – then Abdel Fattah el-Sisi changed his mind

Ukraine, Putin |  Planned arms sales to Putin – then Abdel Fattah el-Sisi changed his mind

At the beginning of April, it became known that Egypt was secretly planning to produce and send 40 thousand missiles, artillery shells and gunpowder to Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine. Washington Post I gained access to leaked US intelligence documents that reproduced conversations between Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and senior Egyptian officers.

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The news spread all over the world, but now Egyptians have made the switch. The regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi entered into an agreement with the United States, according to which the Americans would buy artillery ammunition from the Egyptians, and pass them in turn to the Ukrainian forces.

Forbes He writes that Sisi canceled plans to send weapons to Putin at the beginning of March, and this shift could be very important for Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian military. Egypt has a large stockpile of Soviet and Russian defense materials that Ukraine desperately needs. In particular, this applies to combat aircraft and air defense systems.

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– Soon empty

Associate professor at the Norwegian Air Force School, Lars Peder Haga, tells Nettavisen that arms contributions from Egypt could be very important, if, for example, the country decides to send Russian-made fighter jets and air defense systems.

– Since Ukraine relied heavily on anti-aircraft missiles made by the Soviet Union, it will soon be empty. I’ve seen claims that they produce themselves, but in this case it would be a matter of small quantities, Haga tells Nettavisen. He stressed that he knew too little about Egyptian foreign and security policy to say anything about the realism of the proposal.

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Only Russia produces the S300 anti-aircraft missiles, which Ukraine has used so far in the war. Thus, Ukrainians are counting on replenishing their stocks from other countries that already have stocks. The same applies to combat aircraft used by Ukraine.

according to Wikipedia The Egyptian Air Force has 43 MiG-29 combat aircraft, having recently lost three combat aircraft in Sudan.

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– They will probably be able to be used by Ukrainians very quickly. It’s a type of aircraft that Ukraine already knows about, Haga says, and if Egypt converts the aircraft with upgraded weapons systems, that will boost the quality.

Egypt has a significantly more upgraded version of the MiG-29 than the one Ukraine had before. Recently it became known that Poland and Slovakia donated the remaining Mig-29 fighters to Ukraine, but these do not have upgraded weapon systems.

– Egyptian aircraft received R77 missiles with what is called “beyond visual range” technology. This means they can hit targets out of sight and, according to Wikipedia, have a range of 80 kilometers, the same system the Russians are using against Ukraine today, says Haga.

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superior group

While the Russians can hit enemy warplanes at a distance of more than 80 kilometers, Ukraine has a much smaller range of its air-to-air missiles. Haga says it has a range of up to 60 kilometers. In addition, Russian fighter jets have better radars and will be able to detect Ukrainian planes earlier.

– Russia has a significant advantage in distance, and it will be reduced if Ukraine gets fighter jets from Egypt, says Haga.

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However, it is clear that the possible donation will not change the balance of power in the airspace over Ukraine. The Russians still have more planes and better range on board and can fly longer at a time.

– But flying will be much more dangerous for Russia, and Ukrainian pilots will be able to challenge and threaten the Russians in a different way than today, Haga tells Netavisen.

Egypt is balancing on a knife edge

Brengar Lea, Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Oslo, does not rule out that Egypt is considering sending more powerful missiles to Ukraine.

– For Egypt, it is about a good relationship with Russia, while at the same time maintaining their alliance position with the United States, Leah tells Netavisen.

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After the Camp David Accords of 1978, which secured peace between Egypt and Israel, Egypt became a close ally of the United States.

Since 1978 they have received $1.8 billion a year from Americans to buy Western weapons technology. We are talking about huge transfers, even for the United States, says Professor Lea.

After the Camp David Accords, Egypt became an Arab republic facing the West. But today’s leader, former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has taken Egypt in a very authoritarian direction, creating a strained relationship with the United States and the West.

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In this lies the rejection and criticism of the European and democratic governance model. It is about maneuvering a dictator in an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. The war in Ukraine has brought this to the fore, Lea says, as Egypt wants to have a good relationship with Russia and relies on food imports from both Ukraine and Russia.

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Leah describes Egypt as a country in constant crisis, totally dependent on foreign aid. So many were surprised that Egypt could consider secretly producing weapons for Russia.

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– This says something about the country’s dictator and the people around him in Cairo. Many have been shocked by what the Egyptian authorities have done in the past, especially with regard to gross human rights violations and corruption. It is a misjudgment that worsened during the reign of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Leah asks rhetorically: Who wants to invest in a country where the military controls 40 percent of the economy?

The professor believes that Egyptian leaders do not fully trust the West, and partly see the West as an enemy. At the same time, they are entirely dependent on financial aid, both from the United States and from the equally oil-rich Gulf states.

– American diplomats mentioned on several occasions that the meetings they had with Egyptian diplomats were among the most unpleasant they had. Lea explains that it is based in part on a fundamental mistrust after the United States under Barack Obama did nothing to save then-President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to resign during the popular uprising in the spring of 2011.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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