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Russian Federation sends special forces to help rebel general in Libya

Russian Federation sends special forces to help rebel general in Libya

Egyptian security sources said that the Russian unit is a 22-member special forces team but would not reveal its mission.

A U.S. diplomat who requested not to be named told Reuters that Russian Federation has deployed forces in a western Egyptian airport with a view to supporting Haftar whose forces have recently endured a setback after an attack on their Benghazi stronghold.

They added that Russian Federation had also used a second Egyptian airbase, 90 miles to the east of Sidi Barrani, for Libyan missions.

The Pentagon declined to comment to Reuters, while the Russian defense ministry did not respond.

"Egypt is a sovereign country and does not accept the deployment of foreign troops on its territory", he said. "This is a matter of sovereignty", army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said. On special forces in Egypt near the Libya border he added, "we also have no information about that". The US military also carried out air strikes to support a successful Libyan campaign in 2016 to oust Islamic State from its stronghold in the city of Sirte.

Still, he added that Russian Federation is interested in Libya's stabilisation so the country "does not become a breeding ground for terrorist recruits".

Russian Federation also hosted Faez Sarraj, the prime minister of the government in Tripoli, this month in an apparent effort to expand its clout in the fractured country by talking to both sides.

Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the US commander of Africom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Russian Federation was trying to exert influence in Libya to strengthen its clout over whoever will gain power.

Despite the United Nations arms embargo in place since 2011 prohibiting the sale of weapons to Libyan factions, to the exception of the government in Tripoli, Haftar is also said to have received arms from Middle Eastern allies including Egypt and the UAE.

"They're working to influence that", Waldhauser told the armed services committee.



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