Egypt’s president arrives in Russia for talks with Putin as ties strengthen

Egypt’s president arrives in Russia for talks with Putin as ties strengthen

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow today to discuss military-technical cooperation. Military cooperation has

putin sisi

Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow today to discuss military-technical cooperation.

Military cooperation has steadily ramped up since a 2015 agreement ended more than four decades of military non-cooperation after Egypt broke with the Soviet Union in favour of the US in 1972.

In 2017, the two countries reached a five-year deal to use each other’s airspace and airbases for military purposes. This gave Russia strike range for anti-terrorist operations in Libya and Syria. Egypt has also purchased Russian S-300 missiles, and talks to purchase the more advanced S-400 missiles are reportedly ongoing.

The purchase of the S-400 system would likely be met with concern in the United States—Egypt’s great power ally—and leaves Cairo vulnerable to US sanctions that target countries that buy military assets from Moscow.

While there is no sign of progress on the S-400 deal yet, bilateral military ties are the closest they have been in decades. Russia is likely to increase its military operations in Libya over the next five years, much to Washington’s chagrin. Ultimately, Egypt may find itself pulled into growing US-Russia tensions in Libya.

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