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US Military: Russia Giving Air Support to Libya’s Haftar
This aerial photo shows a Russian MiG-29 at Libya’s Al Jufra airfield on May 26. (AFRICOM)

US Military: Russia Giving Air Support to Libya’s Haftar

The Pentagon’s Africa Command says that Russia has sent combat aircraft to Libya, where they are being used to provide air support to renegade general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces recently retreated from positions around the capital Tripoli. “Russian military aircraft are likely to provide close air support and offensive fire for the Wagner Group PMC that is supporting the Libyan National Army’s fight against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord,” the Germany-based AFRICOM said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The Russia-based Wagner Group is said to provide the services of what some call private security professionals and what others call mercenaries. Haftar’s Benghazi-based LNA launched an offensive in April 2019 that has taken several cities as well as major oil fields, but not Tripoli, seat of the United Nations-backed GNA. Forces sent by Turkey earlier in the year are said to have helped troops loyal to the GNA in their efforts to brake the offensive. AFRICOM says the Russian fighters reached Libya via Syria, where they were “repainted to camouflage their Russian origin.”

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