Russia Sent 12 Fighter Jets To Libya, Says AFRICOM

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM), in a statement at the weekend, said it believes that no fewer than 12 Russian fighter jets are being flown by Wagner Group paramilitary pilots in Libya.

The fighter jets were first reported to have been deployed to Libya in May.

On Friday, an AFRICOM senior official, in a statement, said two Russian fighter jets have crashed in Libya since being deployed to the country’s war on the side of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar earlier this year.

The first MiG crashed June 28 and the other last Monday.

It is not clear whether the two MiG-29s were shot down, suffered mechanical failure or crashed because of pilot error.

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In May, the US military released aerial imagery showing MiG-29 and Su-24 aircraft on the ground in Libya, raising concern that the Kremlin was trying to “tip the scales” on behalf of Haftar in his fight against the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

AFRICOM said at the time that the fighter jets had been flown from Russia to Syria, where they were repainted before continuing on to Libya.

Meanwhile, Russia maintained denial of any formal military presence in Libya or any military support to Libyan warring parties as president Vladimir Putin and his senior officials have more than once distanced themselves from what they described as the private military company (Wagner Group).

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied last week reports that said Moscow had used Syrian land to send weapons and mercenaries to Libya.

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