MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The claims that members of the Wagner Group private military company are present in Libya are based on fabricated data, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview with Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily.
"Information spread by some foreign sources, including the US State Department, that the Wagner Group’s members are present in Libya and participate in combat actions on the side of the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar, largely relies on fabricated data and is aimed at discrediting Russia’s policy on Libya," Bogdanov said.
"Such claims are often based on doubtful sources, which have direct interest in supporting Haftar’s opponents. It’s impossible to prove the credibility of a whole number of facts," Bogdanov said.
"A lot of data, especially concerning the above mentioned Russian citizens, are simply unfounded. In fact, people, who are allegedly fighting in Libya, did not leave our country. It’s noteworthy that the lists were copied from the odious Ukrainian database Mirotvorets," the high-ranking diplomat said.
According to Bogdanov, military equipment that has long been operational in Libya is misrepresented by some sources as new Russian supplies. "A bulk of wrong data or deliberate falsifications has to do with military goods," he stressed.
There are currently two governments in Libya: the internationally recognized Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, which is headquartered in the country’s capital of Tripoli, and Abdullah al-Thani’s cabinet based in the country’s east, which has the support of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. For more than a year, two rival forces have been fighting for the country’s key city after on April 4, 2019 Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli with the goal, as he said, to free the capital from terrorists.
On January 19, the German capital of Berlin hosted an international conference on resolving the Libyan crisis at the level of the heads of state and government, including Russia. In the final document the participants urged a ceasefire, pledged to refrain from intervention in Libya’s affairs and proposed the creation of a single government and launch of reforms for the sake of restoring statehood, ruined after NATO’s intervention nearly ten years ago.
The second round of intra-Libyan talks in Geneva, which ended on February 23, yielded a draft ceasefire agreement, which has not been fulfilled so far.