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American ally Egypt repeatedly ignored requests from Biden administration officials to shut off its airspace to Russian military flights, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing U.S. and Egyptian officials.
U.S. officials asked Egypt in February and March to close its airspace to the Russian military, thereby blocking access to Syria, but Egypt has not responded to those requests, the Journal reported.
Egypt continues to allow the Russian defense ministry to send aircraft through its territory to reach Syria, complicating U.S. moves to block Moscow from allegedly funneling weapons and equipment stationed in Syria to its forces in Ukraine.
Russia maintains a military presence in Syria, where it has propped up dictator Bashar Assad during the country’s civil war over the past half-decade, the Journal reported.
But Moscow is taking weapons from its bases in Syria to equip troops fighting in Ukraine and using Egyptian airspace to transport the weapons to the Ukrainian warzone, U.S. officials told the outlet.
“They’re probably pulling stuff from all over,” Mathieu Boulègue, a consulting fellow at think tank Chatham House and an expert on Russian warfare and the country’s military industry, told the Journal, referring to the Russian Defense Ministry.
“We’ve seen similar deployments and similar logic across military districts in Russia where they are using the database of what they have at any given time,” Boulègue said.
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