Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday promised Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to speed up the delivery of billions of dollars in arms and invited Cairo to forge free trade ties with a Moscow-led customs bloc.

The two strong-willed leaders have developed a warm working relationship since Putin gave his backing to Sisi’s presidential run during the Egyptian’s visit to Moscow in February.

Russian television showed the former field marshal descending the ramp of his plane and immediately being greeted with a display of heavy tanks and armored vehicles assembled on the apron of the Sochi airport. […]