Monday, 23 October, 2017

USA officials warn Russian Federation could be interfering in Libya

USA officials warn Russian Federation could be interfering in Libya USA officials warn Russian Federation could be interfering in Libya
Lance Thomas | 15 March, 2017, 01:06

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had "no information" on any Russian troops being sent to Egypt, and he also denied Moscow had interest in deepening its activity in Libya.

An Egyptian military source on Tuesday denied reports about the deployment of Russian Special Forces to an airbase in western Egypt.

The Reuters news agency reports that Russian Federation appears to have deployed special forces to an air base near the Libyan border in Egypt. They added that Russian Federation flew about six military units in February to another Egyptian base farther east in Marsa Matrouh, according to Reuters.

Russia's Defense Ministry has rejected this information as untrue.

It is not clear if the Russian equipment and personnel are military or contractors, but U.S. officials believe it's all part of the growing signs that Russia is interfering in Libya, according to this official and another U.S. official.

Russian military aircraft flew about six military units to Marsa Matrouh before the aircraft continued to Libya about 10 days later, the Egyptian sources said.

Around 70 members of Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army were evacuated on Tuesday aboard Russian planes, LNA spokesman Mohamad Ghanim said.

Earlier this month dozens of Haftar's fighters were flown this week to Russian Federation for medical treatment.

Both Russia's allies in the region, Algeria and Egypt, two authoritarian countries led by military juntas, see in Haftar a strongman that can end the chaos prevailing in Libya and establish order with a firm grip. Moscow appears prepared to back up its public diplomatic support for Haftar even though western governments were already irked at Russia's intervention in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

Despite the United Nations arms embargo in place since 2011 prohibiting the sale of weapons to Libyan factions, to the exception of the government in Tripoli, Haftar is also said to have received arms from Middle Eastern allies including Egypt and the UAE.

General Thomas D. Waldhauser testified: "Russia is trying to exert influence on the ultimate decision of who becomes and what entity becomes in charge of the government inside Libya".

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