Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi hatched a plan with his top aides to produce and ship up to 40,000 rockets to Russia, which has depleted its supply of ammunition during the 13-month invasion of Ukraine, according to leaked U.S. intelligence documents obtained by the Washington Post.
The top secret documents are part of a trove of classified material that has been leaked on various social media sites in recent months.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby declined to confirm the validity of the documents Monday, but warned media that the material is not for public consumption.
If the documents concerning Egypt are true, it could upend America’s relationship with one of its closest allies in the Middle East and North Africa.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 11, 2022. (The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS, File)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with el-Sisi in late January in Cairo, where Blinken “expressed the United States’ solidarity with Egypt as it contends with the economic impact of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine,” according to the State Department.
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President Biden also traveled to Egypt last November and met with el-Sisi, and commended the Egyptian president for his country’s stance on the war.
“In the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Egypt has spoken up strongly at the United Nations, and that is appreciated very much as well,” Biden said at the time.
One of the documents, which is dated Feb. 17, says el-Sisi instructed his senior military officials to supply Russia with rockets, artillery rounds, and gunpowder, but to keep the plans secret in order “to avoid problems with the West,” according to the Washington Post.
Rescuers work at the site of a maternity ward of a hospital destroyed by a Russian missile attack in Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Nov. 23, 2022. (REUTERS/Stringer, File)
An official identified by the newspaper as Mohamed Salah al-Din, the minister of state for military production, told the Egyptian president that he would “order his people to work shift work if necessary because it was the least Egypt could do to repay Russia for unspecified help earlier.”
The nature of that help is unclear, Egypt increased its reliance on Russian wheat last year amid disruptions to the global market stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to data reviewed by Reuters.
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The Egyptian embassy in the U.S. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
A Pentagon spokesperson referred Fox News Digital to a press briefing Monday by the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Chris Meagher, who said that an interagency task force is reviewing the leaks and the Justice Department has opened a criminal probe.
These images show Ukrainian firefighters tackling a blaze at an industrial fuel storage company in Lutsk, Ukraine, following a Russian missile strike on the facility. (REUTERS, File)
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Russia, meanwhile, has turned to North Korea, Iran, and other U.S. adversaries to replenish its supply of weapons amid the war.
Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, said last month that Russia is trading food to North Korea in exchange for much-needed weapons.