Russian Security Contractors in Eastern Libya
In an exclusive report, Reuters claims that a force of several dozen armed private security contractors from Russia operated until last month in eastern Libya. Reuters concludes that this is ‘the clearest signal to date that Moscow is prepared to back up its public diplomatic support for Haftar.’
Oleg Krinitsyn, owner of private Russian firm RSB-group, said he sent the contractors to eastern Libya last year and they were pulled out in February having completed their mission.
In an interview with Reuters, he said their task was to remove mines from an industrial facility near the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, in an area that Haftar’s forces had liberated from Islamist rebels.
He declined to say who hired his firm to provide the contractors, where they were operating or what the industrial facility was. He did not say if the operation had been approved by the U.N.-backed government, which most states view as the sovereign ruler of Libya.
Asked whether the mission had official blessing from Moscow, Krinitsyn said his firm did not work with the Russian defence ministry, but was “consulting” with the Russian foreign ministry.
The contractors did not take part in combat, Krinitsyn said, but they were armed with weapons they obtained in Libya. He declined to specify what type of weapons.
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