İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. military has again accused Russia of sending weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, to Libya and sending Russian mercenaries to operate on the front lines of the conflict there. "It is assessed that the Russian Federation continues to violate UN Security Council Resolution by actively providing military equipment and fighters to the front lines of the conflict in Libya," U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees U.S. military operations on the continent, said in a statement on Friday.
Africa Command said on Friday there was mounting evidence from satellite photos of Moscow's military cargo planes bringing supplies to fighters from Russian private military contractor Wagner Group. "Imagery reflects the broad scope of Russian involvement," U.S. Army Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence, said in a statement posted on the military command's website. "Russian air defense equipment, including SA-22’s, are present in Libya and operated by Russia, the Wagner Group or their proxies. Photos also show Wagner utility trucks and Russian mine-resistant, ambush protected armored vehicles are present in Libya. The type and volume of equipment demonstrate an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities," statement continued.
U.S. Department of Defense report released earlier this month said that there are as many as 2,500 Russian mercenaries operating in Libya. The report also said that 3,500 to 3,800 Syrian fighters, paid by the Turkish government and given a promise of Turkish citizenship, have joined the ranks of the Government of National Accord. According to the CNN, the presence of Russian and Turkish forces in such close proximity with the prospect of Egyptian troops entering the conflict has led some U.S. officials to become concerned about a major escalation in the conflict. Russia has not officially responded to the accusations yet.