Russia’s Mercenaries in Libya
The United States believes that Russia is playing &# 171; destabilizing&# 187; role in Libya
The State Department said that Moscow is sending a significant number of troops to the country to support General Khalifa Haftar.
Russia has sent its military to Libya, which “destabilize” the situation in this North African country, warned a senior State Department official..
Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs David Schenker told reporters that Russia is sending “significant” troops to support Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive in April to seize control of Tripoli from the UN-backed government of national accord.
US officials previously told CNN that they estimate hundreds of Russian mercenaries associated with the paramilitary Wagner Group with links to the Kremlin arrived in Libya some time ago, working in Moscow’s interests and assisting Haftar in his capture efforts. Tripoli.
But now Schenker said that Russia is sending regular forces to this country..
“Russian regular troops are deploying in significant numbers to support the LNA,” Schenker said, describing their presence as “incredibly destabilizing.”.
The presence of Russian troops “gives rise to a premonition of massive civilian casualties,” Schenker said..
Schenker’s announcement came days after a senior US delegation met with Haftar to “discuss steps towards an end to hostilities and a political solution to the Libyan conflict,” the State Department said on Monday.
The delegation included Victoria Coates, Deputy National Security Adviser to the White House, and senior officials from the State Department, Department of Energy, and the US Armed Forces..
“The officials stressed the full support of the United States of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya and expressed serious concern that Russia is exploiting the conflict to the detriment of the Libyan people,” the State Department said in a statement..
Schenker defended the meetings of the US representatives with Haftar, saying that they had been happening for a long time..
“The important thing is that we are in contact with him at a high level,” he said..
“We are trying to find a diplomatic solution, and politically we are talking with everyone,” added the assistant secretary of state..
“He controls armored vehicles and significant forces,” he said, noting that Haftar controls 80 percent of the country’s territory. – We meet with everyone. This is nothing new. “.
The US military believes that Russian mercenaries supporting Haftar may be responsible for the crash of a US military drone that flew over Tripoli last week. Two Pentagon officials told CNN.
A third spokesman said that forces allied with Haftar were responsible for the crash, but it is not yet clear if Russian contractors were involved. Haftar’s representatives apologized for downing drone, official said.
Asked by CNN if Russian mercenaries were responsible for the crash, US African Command spokesman Nate Herring replied: “We cannot comment further as this incident is under investigation.”.
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State Department: Russia destabilizes Libya
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