After the UN, the US Army in turn confirmed the presence of Russian mercenaries alongside Marshal Haftar in Libya. According to the United States, Russia would provide them with air support.
Moscow recently sent fighter planes to Libya to support ground team soldiers fighting alongside Marshal Khalifa Haftardans in the conflict that tore the country apart, the US military accused on Tuesday May 26.
Fourth-generation Russian fighter planes “arrived in Libya from a Russian airbase following the transit to Syria, where we believe they have been repainted to conceal their Russian origin,” said the generally commanding US forces in Africa, Stephen Townsend, from his headquarters in Stuttgart , Germany.
“Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya,” he said. “As it has done in Syria, it is expanding its military footprint in Africa by using state-sponsored mercenary groups such as the Wagner Group,” in violation of the UN arms embargo on the country and regular promises of non-intervention in the internal conflict, Stephen Townsend said .
Libya war: Russian mercenaries evacuate the Tripoli front
Support for Russian mercenaries in the Wagner Group
“We have observed all stages of the deployment of Russian fighter jets in Libya,” he added, emphasizing that they were likely intended to “provide close air support and offensive fire to the Wagner group”.
Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strong man from eastern Libya, has made an offensive for over a year to capture Tripoli in the west, seat of the Government of National Unity (GNA), with the support of the UN. But the fighting quickly caught on south of the capital, while Camp Haftar has suffered several setbacks in recent weeks.
Russia has always denied any role there, but earlier this month, a report by UN experts confirmed the presence in Libya of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Several hundreds are currently mobilized on site, according to GNA.
New bombings in sight, Americans say
The US military said a “new air campaign” was brewing in the country with “Russian mercenary pilots flying with Russian-supplied aircraft to bomb the Libyans” and take over air bases on the side.
The two current rival powers are backed by various foreign powers: the United Arab Emirates and Russia support the Haftar camp, while Turkey intervenes militarily with the GNA. Armed with this growing Turkish support, pro-GNA forces have in recent weeks chained military success, especially thanks to their air superiority. With AFP