Russia has deployed regular troops and mercenaries in Libya, thereby threatening the stability of the country and destabilizing the situation there, said US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Shenker, as cited by the Department of State’s press service.
The US official said that Russian military interference is destabilizing the situation in Libya. When asked by journalists what Washington understands this “interference” to be, Shenker explained that Russia has deployed regular troops and mercenaries from the Wagner private military company (PMC) in Libya to support the Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).
“Russian regulars are being deployed in significant numbers to support the LNA. Russia’s military interference is incredibly destabilizing of the situation and threatens peace, security and stability in the country. The presence of the Russian troops increases the risk of large-scale casualties among the civilian population,” he said.
At the same time, Shenker explained, the US is committed to ensuring a peaceful and flourishing future for the inhabitants of Libya, but the Russian troops and mercenaries are getting in the way of this. For this reason, Washington plans to impose sanctions on the Wagner PMC, he added.
Previously there were reports in the media that Russia had deployed roughly 200 fighters in Libya, although it was unclear whether these were mercenaries or regular army soldiers. Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied this, dismissing it as unsubstantiated speculation.