The minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, Fathi Bashagha, accused Russia of fueling conflict in the country in order to strengthen its influence in Libya, and asked the U.S. for help in resolving the situation. The minister’s words are quoted by Bloomberg.
Bashagha in his speech recalled the joint anti-terrorist operations with the United States in September, which, he said, caused significant damage to the Islamic State (banned in Russia). The Minister said that operations against IS are ongoing, but the actions of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who claims to be influential in Libya, create fertile soil for terrorist activities.
Attempts to resolve the conflict in Libya face difficulties in the face of “mercenaries from Russia” fighting on Haftar’s side, Bashagha continued. According to him, they are fighters of Wagner’s private military company. “Russia is intervening in order to add fuel to the fire of the conflict and inflate it, not resolve it” the minister added.
Earlier, the newspaper The New York Times, citing sources, reported that 200 Russian mercenaries had arrived in Libya since the end of September, presumably from the Wagner PMC, which is associated with the businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin. The participation of Russian mercenaries in the battles in Libya was also reported by Bloomberg in late September.
Libya now retains dual power: in the east of the country, the city of Tobruk is a parliament, and in the west, in Tripoli, a government formed with the support of the UN and recognized by the international community. The National Army, led by Haftar, supports the power of parliament and opposes the government.