By Mostafa Salem and Anna Chernova, CNN
A senior Egyptian official denied that the country’s military was planning to produce 40,000 rockets for Russia, following reporting by the Washington Post citing a leaked US intelligence document, Egyptian state-affiliated media said.
A leaked US intelligence document obtained by the Washington Post said Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi instructed officials to keep production and shipment secret “to avoid problems with the West.”
The February-dated “top secret document” purported conversations between Sisi and senior Egyptian military officials referencing plans to supply Russia with artillery and gunpowder, and to keep the plans a secret, the Washington Post said.
CNN has not seen the document cited by the Washington Post and is unable to confirm its authenticity.
The Egyptian official, unnamed by state-affiliated media, called the Washington Post report “informational absurdity” and said that Egypt follows a “balanced policy” with all international parties, Al Qahera News, a state-affiliated media outlet said. The statement was carried by several Egyptian state-affiliated news outlets.
Egypt is one of the world’s top recipients of US military aid, receiving $1.3 billion in military financing annually.
“Egypt is a close partner and we are regularly engaged with its leadership on a host of regional and global issues,” a US senior administration official said when asked about the reported intel that Egypt was preparing to covertly send rockets to Russia.
“We have no indication that any such plan has been executed,” the official said.
Russia’s Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the information “another hoax.”
“It looks like another hoax, of which there are plenty now. This is how you should treat such publications,” Peskov said in response to a question from a reporter on the report.
CNN reached out to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry for comment.
Highly classified Pentagon documents leaked online in recent weeks have provided a rare window into how the US spies on allies and foes alike, deeply rattling US officials, who fear the revelations could jeopardize sensitive sources and compromise important foreign relationships.
Many of the documents, which US officials say are authentic, had markings indicating that they had been produced by the Joint Staff’s intelligence arm, known as J2, and appear to be briefing documents.
Egypt has publicly voiced muted opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has supported United Nations resolutions condemning the war, including a call in February that Moscow “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine and called for a cessation of hostilities.”
The country’s economy has been damaged by the conflict, with Egypt relying heavily on grain exports from the two countries.
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CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.