US Military: Russia has deployed military aircraft to Libya

Image supplied by the US military in support of their statement. (US AFRICA COMMAND)
Short Url
Updated 26 May 2020

US Military: Russia has deployed military aircraft to Libya

  • Libya has been gripped by violence since Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011

LONDON: The US military said Tuesday that Russia has recently deployed military fighter aircraft to Libya.

The jets are likely to be providing air support for the Wagner Group, a Russian private military contractor operating in Libya, the US Africa Command said.

The statement also said Moscow has employed the state-sponsored contractor in Libya to conceal its direct role and to afford Moscow “plausible deniability” of its actions.

US Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of the US’ Africa mission, said: “Just like I saw (Russia) doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups like Wagner.”

The statement warned that Russian presence in Libya could “exacerbate the regional instability that has driven the migration crisis affecting Europe.”

Libya has been gripped by chaos since longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi was ousted and killed in 2011, with rival administrations in the east and west vying for power.

In April, the UN-recognised Government of National Accord rejected a truce unilaterally proposed by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), saying it “did not trust” them.

The LNA is led by the commander Khalifa Haftar, who launched an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli last year.

His forces have suffered a series of setbacks in recent months as Turkey stepped up support for for the Government of National Accord and the militias that support it. 

Coalition forces intercept Houthi drones in Yemeni airspace

Updated 15 August 2020

Coalition forces intercept Houthi drones in Yemeni airspace

  • Houthi drones were shot down before leaving Yemeni airspace

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen have intercepted a number of armed Houthi drones, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said.

The drones were shot down in Yemeni airspace on Saturday evening after being launched by militia in the country’s capital city, Sana’a according to the state news agency SPA.

There was no suggestion that anyone was hurt in the incident.

The Houthis regualrly fire drones towards Saudi Arabia in breach of international law, but the majority are shot down without causing any fatalities or injuries.