İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. military on Tuesday accused Russia of deploying fighter jets to Libya in support of Russian mercenaries operating there. "U.S. Africa Command assesses that Moscow recently deployed military fighter aircraft to Libya in order to support Russian state-sponsored private military contractors operating on the ground there," the U.S. military's Africa Command said in a statement. "Russian military aircraft are likely to provide close air support and offensive fires for the Wagner Group that is supporting the Libyan National Army's (LNA) fight against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord," it added.
Two U.S. defense officials told CNN there were "several" Russian military aircraft deployed. Africa Command also released a surveillance photograph which showed the Russian aircraft, a MIG-29, in Libya. The fighting in Libya has drawn in regional and global powers with what the United Nations described as a huge influx of weapons and fighters in repeated violation of a 2011 arms embargo. Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt support Haftar's LNA, which launched an offensive a year ago to seize the capital, Tripoli. However, in recent weeks the GNA has, with extensive Turkish military backing, pushed Haftar back from his foothold in southern Tripoli and other parts of the northwest.