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Libya Civil War: Report On Russia’s Involvement Fuels New Narratives

In just a week, Libya civil war added Russian mercenaries to the conflict, as per The New York Times report, Libya’s UN-recognized government accused Russia of fueling the war, and Russia denied the military presence in the nation. Implying, Libya civil war has all, but not the solution to the raging conflict.

The political turmoil in Libya that erupted with the fall of Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 Arab uprisings, still exists. Even more, is the presence of factions backed by Arab super powers, who know which horses are best suited for their respective courses. So, while Turkey supports the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) ruled by Fayez al-Sarraj, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and Egypt are the backbone of Libyan National Army (LNA), controlled by Khalifa Haftar.

Hundreds of Russian mercenaries, most of them being highly trained and well-armed, are fighting alongside Khalifa Haftar, the media house reported. Confirming one of the incidents where about 20 heavily armed Russian mercenaries, who seemed trapped inside the empty school building recalled of the Libyan militiamen who were there. But as the Libyans came forward, the armed men opened fire from inside and killed three militiamen within minutes; all shot in the head.

“I categorically reject speculation of this kind,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov last week. “We don’t believe there are grounds to make assertions and speculations like this,” he added.

On the other hand, supporting The New York Times findings, GNA said that Russia is using private military contractors to widen the extent of menace in the nation and boost its influence there. Besides, calling the US to step up efforts to resolve the conflict.

In NYT’s account, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military’s Africa Command Rebecca Farmer, avowed that they are aware that Russian mercenaries work for Wagner Group, a private army that experts say have direct links to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a businessman who in turn has links to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Notably, Wagner Group has previously been named in Syria, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and other countries vital to Kremlin’s diplomatic interests.

Meanwhile, this is not for the first time that Russia has denied its involvement, and instead accused the US media of spreading fake news. “We’re acting in the interest of Libyan settlement. We support the appropriate efforts [to achieve this], including through the UN. We’re in dialogue with those who in one way or another influence the situation,” Rybakova said in Russia’s defense.

As a fact, Libya civil war has already seen more than 1,000 deaths and around 6,000 injuries. According to UN agencies, more than 120,000 people have also been displaced.

Russian mercenaries entered Libya in September, according to Libyan commanders and fighters. The move came six months after Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the nation’s capital Tripoli, in order to take the area under his control. This completely disturbed United Nations’ (UN) efforts that have tried to settle the mayhem widespread on the both sides of the conflict. Ironically, the situation has grown even more complicated with the deployment of Russian mercenaries.

For Russia, Libya remains an oil lucrative territory having abundant resources to boom its economy from the millions it can gain, even if it costs a few hundred civilian lives. Nonetheless, the Libya Civil War has always, and as it seems, will fail to answer who the real culprit is, leaving behind questions over UN arms embargo and other efforts to reach peace.

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