Nasser Acknowledges Soviet Pilots Flying Armed Planes over Egypt; More Advisers Due

Pres. Nasser said in an interview published yesterday in the newspaper “Die Welt” that Soviet pilots were flying planes over Egypt and that the planes were armed. But he evaded a question as to whether Soviet-driven Egyptian planes had clashed with Israeli Jets. Col. Nasser made his comments in an interview with Danish TV correspondent Ole Sippel and excerpts were printed in the West German newspaper. “All the world wants to know whether we have Russian pilots,” he said. “Now the voices of Russian pilots are not new in Egypt. People have heard them for three years.” He said the Soviets were “training our own pilots.” His replies left open the question as to whether the Soviet airmen were only taking part in training missions with armed planes or were actively flying operational missions, as Israel has charged. In reply to the question about clashes between Soviet and Israeli pilots, he said “That is the $20,000 dollar question as one says in the United States. I do not know. Perhaps the military knows.” He said the number of Russian military advisors were not “as many as the American newspapermen have written,” Western sources have estimated that there are between 6000 and 10,000 such advisors in Egypt. He did say Egypt was “always receiving new advisors for new equipment.” He said the Soviet Union had not asked for political reciprocity for its help.

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