Russia sent at least eight warplanes to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha has said.

Russia delivered at least six Soviet-made Mig-29 and two Sukhoi 24s warplanes from its base in Syria’s Khmeimim to Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, Bashagha told Bloomberg.

Moscow have yet to comment on the matter.

Citing Haftar’s air force chief Saqr al-Jaroushi, the US news outlet said that Haftar’s forces are set to launch “the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history in the coming hours.”

Meanwhile, Libyan army on Wednesday destroyed five Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense systems supplied to Haftar by the United Arab Emirates in the last 24 hours. Earlier this week it also recaptured the key Al-Watiya airbase from Haftar militias.

Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, who has targeted the government for over a year now, intensified attacks on civilians in May. This is because of Libyan army’s recent successes against the militants.

As a result, some cities and towns in the west had announced their support to the Libyan government.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya’s government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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