The American newspaper “The Wall Street Journal” revealed that Egypt, an ally of the United States, rejected demands not to allow Russian aviation to use Egyptian airspace.
In a report prepared by Somar Said and Jared Maslin, they said that Egypt ignored American demands to close the airspace of Russian military aircraft, according to American and Egyptian officials, thus limiting Washington’s ability to choke off Moscow’s supplies before the Ukrainian counter-operation.
The United States and Ukraine persuaded countries including Turkey and Iraq to limit Russian air access last year after the invasion in Ukraine, forcing Moscow to fly an additional 2,000 miles, or another five hours, to reach its strategic bases in Syria. But Egypt allowed the Russian aviation, which gave Moscow a roundabout way to reach its military bases in Syria.
American and Egyptian officials said that a number of American officials asked Egypt in February and March to prevent Russian planes from reaching Syria, but Egypt did not respond to the requests, the officials said, and continued to allow Russian planes to fly.
In response to a question from the newspaper, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “We do not comment on private diplomatic talks.” At a time when other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have allowed Russian aviation to use their airspace, the Egyptian role is important because of its strategic location as a traffic choke point linking Africa with Asia.
Egyptian airspace is close to Greece, a NATO member state that has banned Russian flights. The newspaper says that Russia has allowed more aircraft to fly over Egyptian airspace to Syria in recent weeks, according to records reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Turkey, Iraq and Jordan moved to block some of the Russian planes, adding 2,000 miles to the flight that would fly across the Caspian Sea and then Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and eventually into the Mediterranean to reach military bases in Syria, according to records seen by the newspaper. The new road extends six hours from southern Russia to Syria.-
Russia has ammunition, vehicles, air defenses, spare parts and soldiers in Syria that can be used in Ukraine, according to military analyses.-
Russia suffers from restrictions on its operations in the region across the sea. Turkey used its right in a treaty last year to block Russian ships from passing into the Black Sea via the Bosphorus, impeding Russia’s ability to move its boats and the weapons it needs in its attack on Ukraine.
Last year, Ukraine accused Russia of using merchant ships to transport the S-300 missile system from Syria to Russia through the Turkish Straits, using a loophole in the Montero Treaty, which covers the use of strategic sea crossings.
Türkiye closed the access to the Black Sea to the Russian battleships.
“The increase in air travel shows the importance of closing the Turkish straits, forcing them to airlift everything (…) It shows that they are transporting valuable equipment that they don’t want anyone to see,” says Yürk Isik, director of the Bosphorus Observer.
Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid and gets $1.3 billion a year from Washington, but Cairo is often a problematic ally. The government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who brought about the 2013 coup, has supported the Russian-backed Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar, and has imprisoned American citizens.
The Washington Post revealed, in Discord leaks, an Egyptian plan to produce missiles for Russia to use in the Ukraine war.