The United States army has mentioned Russia seems to be sending extra army tools to its mercenaries in Libya, together with within the flashpoint metropolis of Sirte, in breach of an arms embargo.
The US army’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) mentioned on Friday there was mounting proof from satellite tv for pc pictures of Moscow’s army cargo planes, together with IL-6s, bringing provides to fighters from Russian non-public army contractor Wagner Group.
“Imagery reflects the broad scope of Russian involvement,” US Army Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence, mentioned in a press release posted on the army command’s web site.
“They proceed to look to aim to realize a foothold in Libya.
“Russian air defense equipment, including SA-22s, are present in Libya and operated by Russia, the Wagner Group or their proxies. Photos also show Wagner utility trucks and Russian mine-resistant, ambush protected armored vehicles are also present in Libya … the type and volume of equipment demonstrate an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities.”
Libya was plunged into chaos by the 2011 NATO-backed rebellion that toppled and killed its longtime chief, Muammar Gaddafi.
The oil-rich nation has since been divided, with an internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) controlling the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest, whereas renegade army commander Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) in Benghazi management the east.
Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Russia, whereas the GNA is backed by Turkey.
In May, a leaked US report mentioned Russian non-public army contractor Wagner Group deployed about 1,200 mercenaries to Libya to strengthen Haftar’s forces.
The 57-page report by unbiased sanctions displays, submitted to the UN Security Council (UNSC) Libya sanctions committee, mentioned Wagner deployed the mercenaries in specialised army duties, together with sniper groups.
The UN sanctions displays recognized greater than two dozen flights between Russia and japanese Libya from August 2018 to August 2019 by civilian plane “strongly linked to, or owned by” Wagner Group or associated corporations.
The displays additionally listed the small print of 122 Wagner operatives of “whom many are highly probably operational, or have been operational, within Libya”.
Russia and the LNA have each denied earlier US army statements that Moscow despatched fighter jets to again Wagner forces within the North African nation.
When requested in January if the Wagner Group was combating in Libya, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned if there have been Russians in Libya, they weren’t representing the Russian state, nor had been they paid by the state.
The AFRICOM claims come after a Wednesday assembly between Turkish and Russian delegations in Ankara to debate Libya’s conflict.
The two sides agreed to press forward with efforts for an enduring ceasefire within the nation, based on Turkey’s overseas ministry.
A joint assertion launched after the assembly mentioned the edges had agreed to work collectively and encourage Libya’s opposing factions to create “conditions for a lasting and sustainable ceasefire” and joint efforts to advance a political dialogue.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies