The U.S. Army African Command (US AFRICOM) has accused mercenaries of the Russian private military company Wagner fighting in Libya of violating the UN embargo on the use of anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices.
The U.S. military alleges that Russian mercenaries have been actively setting up mines in areas around Tripoli and Sirte since mid-June, with explosive devices imported from abroad.
"Russia-sponsored PMC Wagner demonstrates a complete disregard for the security of Libyans. Irresponsible tactics are prolonging conflict & responsible for the needless suffering & deaths of innocent civilians. Russia has the power to stop them, just not the will," said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford Gering, USAFRICOM director of operations.
AFRICOM estimates that there are about 2,000 Russian "wild geese" in Libya. Earlier this information was confirmed by UN diplomats, as reported by foreign publications Bloomberg and Telegraph. Soldiers of fortune from Russia are fighting on the side of the rebellious commander of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
In late April, a number of Arab media reported that 10 mercenaries had been killed in fighting near the town of Salah al-Din. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Wagner fighters were in Libya but said they "do not represent the interests of the Russian state."