ANKARA

Russia continues to position military equipment in Libya through the private Wagner Group, working as a Russian Defense Ministry proxy, the US military said on Friday.

“Russia continues to play an unhelpful role in Libya by delivering supplies and equipment to the Wagner group,” US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford Gering, the head of operations for US Africa Command (AFRICOM), said in a statement.

“Imagery continues to unmask their consistent denials.”

Gering added that the type and volume of equipment demonstrates “an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities, not humanitarian relief, and indicates the Russian Ministry of Defense is supporting these operations.”

The equipment is capable of “conducting kinetic operations” and “poses a risk for all civilians.”

AFRICOM also shared two new images detailing the arms cooperation between Russia and the Wagner Group.

The first photo shows Wagner forces and equipment on the front lines of the Libyan conflict in Sirte. The second shows the extent of equipment being supplied to Wagner with a Russian military cargo aircraft.

Photos also show Wagner utility trucks and Russian mine-resistant, ambush­-protected armored vehicles are also present in Libya.

“Imagery reflects the broad scope of Russian involvement,” said US Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence. “They continue to look to attempt to gain a foothold in Libya.”

The AFRICOM statement said the Russian Federation “continues to violate UN Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1970 by actively providing military equipment and fighters to the front lines of the Libya conflict.”

In May, AFRICOM reported that at least 14 Mig-29s and Su-24s had been flown from Russia to Syria and previously provided photographic evidence that Wagner has laid landmines and improvised explosive devices in civilian areas in and around Tripoli.

Since April 2019, Khalifa Haftar’s illegitimate forces have launched attacks on the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

However, the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar forces out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under an UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Haftar, who has been backed by France, Russia, the UAE and Egypt.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority.

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