Russia and Egypt have “already initialed or signed” a $3 billion arms deal, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported Friday.
The deal would procure Russian military equipment, including MiG-29M/M2 fighters, air defense systems of several types, Mi-35 helicopters, anti-coastal complexes of ammunition and light weapons, according to the report, which was based on two unnamed sources in the Russian defense industry.
Egyptian Defense Minister, first Deputy Prime Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and their Russian counterparts in Novo-Ogaryovo, Russia, Thursday to discuss what Egypt’s armed forces spokesman called the “2+2” format.
The Russian president supported Al-Sisi’s bid for presidency, describing it as a “responsible decision.” The United States Department of State deputy spokesman criticised the move in a press conference Thursday, declaring that the Egyptian people alone should determine the country’s next president.
The American side remarked that they anticipate the official results of the meeting.
The former Soviet Union was the main arms suppliers to Egypt in the early 1970s, but the United States took over that role after the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 at Camp David.
Relations between Egypt and the United States have been turbulent since former president Mohamed Morsi’s military-backed ousting. The United Sates refrained from providing artillery to Egypt in October, because American law prohibits supporting “coup” regimes. The move propelled the re-establishment of Egyptian-Russian relations. Restoring American military aid to Egypt is now pending the election of a civilian government, according to a recent legislative bill that was approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives in January.
Russia’s alliance with Egypt could extend beyond military cooperation. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergi Lavarov remarked last November that his country intended to invest in an Egyptian nuclear energy project.
The Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman was not available for comment.