- Egypt, a key US ally in the Middle East, sought to supply Russia with 40K rockets in addition to artillery shells and gunpowder, according to a leaked US intelligence document acquired by the Washington Post this week.1
- The 'top secret' document, dated Feb. 17, summarizes conversations said to have taken place between Egyptian Pres. Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and senior military officials. Sisi reportedly instructed the production and shipment of the rockets to be kept secret 'to avoid problems with the West.' Egypt has denied the plans and a US government official said they don't have any information to suggest the plan was carried through.1
- As reporting on the trove of leaked Pentagon documents continued, a further intelligence document — also marked 'top secret' — cast doubt on Ukraine's ability to conduct a successful counteroffensive this spring. It said Ukraine’s challenges in massing troops, ammunition, and equipment could cause its military to fall 'well short' of intended aims, adding it would likely only achieve 'modest territorial gains.'2
- It comes as the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US military think tank, reported in its latest assessment that Russia has continued to make advances in the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, 'but likely continue[s] to suffer significant casualties.'3
- On Monday, Denis Pushilin, head of the pro-Russia Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), claimed that pro-Russia forces control 75% of Bakhmut.4
- Elsewhere, in one of the rare areas of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, more than 200 soldiers were freed following a prisoner swap on Monday. Russian officials said 106 of its soldiers were returned while Ukrainian officials said 100 of its troops were exchanged.5
- Narrative A, as provided by Washington Post. If the reports are accurate, Egypt's plans to supply Russia with rockets are a massive betrayal to the US, which provides the country with upwards of $1B in security aid every year. America will have to rethink its relationship with the Middle Eastern country in the wake of this revelation.
- Narrative B, as provided by Ahram online. These reports are false. From the beginning of the conflict, Egypt has been committed to non-involvement and maintaining equal distance to both sides. Cairo has done this while affirming the principles of international law and the UN charter in addition to any resolutions passed by the body.