- AFRICOM said that there are satellites of Moscow military cargo planes which brought supplies to fighters from the Russian Wagner Group.
- Recently, Washington has become increasingly concerned about the involvement of other foreign powers in Libya.
- Turkey stated that Haftar's forces must withdraw from the coastal city of Sirte and the Al-Jufra region, before the Ankara-backed GNA accepts any permanent ceasefire.
The U.S. military alleges that Russia has sent new military equipment to its mercenaries in the city of Sirte, in Libya. If the report is anything to go by, then Russia is in full violation of the embargo in force in the North African country. The information was released by the U.S. Army African Command (AFRICOM).
AFRICOM said that there are satellites of Moscow military cargo planes which brought supplies to fighters from the Russian Wagner Group. “Imagery reflects the broad scope of Russian involvement,” said US Army Brigade General Gregory Hadfield, AFICOM deputy director of intelligence. He added:
“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.”
Recently, Washington has become increasingly concerned about the involvement of other foreign powers in Libya, as well as the interference of Moscow through mercenaries of the so-called Wagner Company, employed in support of the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, led by general Khalifa Haftar.
In this context, on July 15, the latter met, in a secret high-level visit, a US delegation made up of political and military representatives. Haftar-affiliated sources called the meeting the last chance to reach a ceasefire agreement, while unofficial information regarding an unprecedented US plan also leaked.
Specifically, Washington proposed the liberation of the al-Hilal area, an oil region of vital importance for Libya, by any military force, under the supervision of the United Nations. The July 15 meeting, as well as the Norland and Saleh conversation, came at a time of particular tensions in Libya, born of the will of the Tripoli government, also known as the Government of National Agreement (GNA), to regain control of Sirte and of the base of al-Jufra.
The first is a coastal city close to Libya’s oil and gas terminals, located halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi, which makes it a source of interest for both the LNA and the GNA, and their respective allies. Al-Jufra represents a major hub for Haftar’s forces, located in the center of the country, about 650 km south-east of Tripoli. Taking control of it would mean being able to monitor much of Libya in the east, south and west.
In this context, on July 22, Turkey stated that Haftar’s forces must withdraw from the coastal city of Sirte and the Al-Jufra region, before the Ankara-backed GNA accepts any permanent ceasefire agreement in Libya. The announcement comes following a meeting between Russia and Turkey on the Libyan conflict, which took place on 22 July.
“We’ve just reached an agreement with Russia to work on a credible and sustainable ceasefire in Libya,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top security adviser, Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters.
Any deal must be based on a return to what positions were in 2015, explained Kalin, who asked Haftar’s troops to withdraw from Sirte and Al-Jufra air base.
“For the ceasefire to be sustainable, Jufra and Sirte should be evacuated by Haftar’s forces,” Kalin told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Ankara.