Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he supports Egyptian military chief Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in his "bid for the presidency," according to a report by the BBC.

Putin showed Sisi Russia's full support saying, "I know that you, Mr. Defense Minister, have decided to run for president of Egypt. I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people."

There has, of yet, been no official announcement by Sisi over his candidacy. However, Sisi, 59, has been urged to run by members of the public who reject the Islamist government he toppled, and by members of the armed forces who want a president who can face down growing political violence. Earlier this month, a Kuwaiti newspaper quoted him as saying he would run in an election expected to be held in April.

Russia has taken little time to put its support behind Egypt's new strong man who some western critics have accused of taking power from Egypt's democratically elected president in a military coup.

Putin made his comments while Sisi was in Moscow this week to negotiate a $2 billion arms deal with Russia.

The agreement comes after the United States suspended some of its annual military assistance to Egypt in response to Mr Morsi's removal.

Russia also has a lot to gain from a military deal with Egypt. Moscow says it lost tens of billions of dollars in lost defense contracts after "Arab Spring" revolts toppled Moscow-friendly leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sisi said of the meeting, "Our visit offers a new start to the development of military and technological cooperation between Egypt and Russia. We hope to speed up this cooperation."


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