Return of Russian attack fighting in Libya


WASHINGTON – This year with more than a dozen attack jets sent by Russia to Libya in its campaign to divert Tripoli, the capital, a top US military ground attack in support of Russian mercenaries fighting with a dashing commander and Others are conducting combat operations. The official said on Friday.

The Pentagon’s Africa Command revealed the deployment of at least 14 MiG-29 and SU-24 jets to Libya in May, underscoring Moscow’s deep role in a pseudo-war, where its Libyan ally, Commander Khalifa Hifter had experienced a series of failures. This caused a major setback to his campaign.

US military officials said the planes were flown from Russia to Syria, where their Russian markings were painted to be defrauded. The aircraft was then landed in Libya in violation of UN arms. At that time, the scope and scale of the aircraft’s mission was unclear.

Director of the Intelligence Department of Africa Command, Rear Adam Heidi Berg, said on Friday that Russian aircraft flown by the crew of the Kremlin-backed private military company Wagner Group, whose mercenaries had greatly boosted Mr Hifter’s attack in Tripoli. Gir had carried out many ground attacks and other campaigns.

“These fighters are involved in combat activities,” Admiral Berg said in an interview with reporters. “They are not there for training.”

Admiral Berg stated that the operations have taken place at a very low cost. Two MiG-29s crashed, one in June and the other last week. The cause of the accidents – whether mechanical accident, pilot error or something else – was unknown, he said, but possibly indicated a lack of technical skills and capability.

Russian military cargo aircraft, including the IL-76, continue to supply Wagner Group forces operating in Libya with military armored vehicles, SA-22 air defense systems, fuel, ammunition and other supplies, increasing the risk of miscarriage and Violence continues in Libya. he said. While Moscow reportedly wants to establish sophisticated S-300 or S-400 air defenses in Libya, Admiral Berg said that had not yet happened.

The massive scale of secret, embargo-busting arms flights by Russian and United Arab Emirates to support Mr Hifter was presented to a panel of the UN Security Council in a confidential report this month, and seen by The New York Times Was.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011 following the assassination and assassination of longtime ruler Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. Since then it has been divided between two administrations, east and west of the country, supported by rival foreign powers.

The 14-month campaign to capture Tripoli by Mr. Hifter ended in June with failure, but Russia and Turkey entered the war more deeply.

Admiral Berg said that Russia’s Wagner Group has 3,000 personnel and 2,000 Syrian mercenaries on the ground in Libya, while Turkey has 5,000 Syrian mercenaries as well as several hundred Turkish soldiers in the country. Russia has repeatedly denied any interference in Libya.

Admiral Berg said that so far there is no evidence that the Islamic State has landed a large number of mercenaries.

The Africa Command has issued several news reports for the past several months condemning Russia’s involvement in Libya, often including satellite depictions of Russian aircraft as well as the Wagner military and equipment, the Libyan conflict in Surat Are on the lines of.

US military officials say the Wagner Group has installed land mines and improvised explosive devices or IEDs in and around Tripoli, endangering the safety of civilians. The Africa Command says satellite imagery also shows that Wagner Group transport trucks and Russian mine-resistant, armored vehicles are also present in Libya.

Russia is constantly expanding its military influence across Africa by increasing arms sales, security agreements and training programs for unstable countries or autocratic leaders. Other recent actions in Moscow have included quietly recruiting mercenaries and political advisors into several countries, including Mozambique and the Central African Republic.

Analyzing what they call the Great Power Competition, US officials said they were concerned with Russia’s growing influence, as well as China, as Washington struggles to meet its economic and security goals on the continent .