‘Russian mercenaries fighting in Libya’


UNTRIPOLI: Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization seen as being close to Vladimir Putin, are fighting in Libya, UN diplomats said Wednesday, citing an experts’ report on the country’s arms embargo.
It was the first time the UN has confirmed claims first made in US media that the group is supporting military strongman Khalifa Haftar. Moscow has denied being responsible for deploying the group. The report also revealed that Haftar was being supported by Syrian fighters.
The Wagner Group is a shadowy private security firm and thousands of its contractors are believed to be in foreign conflicts from Syria and Ukraine to the Central African Republic. A senior US State Department official has told reporters the group is “an instrument of the Kremlin’s policy” in Libya.
“The Panel has identified the presence of private military operatives from ChVK Wagner in Libya since October 2018,” the report says, according to several diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity as the document has not yet been made public. “Wagner has been providing technical support for the repair of military vehicles, participating in combat operations and engaging in influence operations,” the report says.–Agencies