'1,300 Wagner mercenaries sent from Libya to help Russian forces in Ukraine'
900 Wagner paramilitaries left in Libya, says Libyan security analyst
Some 1,300 mercenaries of the Russian private contractor Wagner Group have been moved from Libya to Ukraine to fight alongside Russian forces, according to a Libyan security analyst.
“There were 2,200 Wagner militants in Libya. Russia has withdrawn 1,300 and left just 900 here,” Adel Abdel-Kafi, a military and security expert, told Anadolu Agency.
He said Wagner paramilitaries were removed from their posts along a highway linking the areas of Sirte and Jafra in central Libya.
Abdel-Kafi said the Wagner Group is increasingly relying on fighters from African nations and continues to recruit people from Mali, Chad and Sudan.
The Wagner Group has been in Libya since October 2018 to support the forces of warlord Khalifa Haftar, who has been fighting Libya’s legitimate government for control of the North African country, according to the UN.
This is not the first claim about Wagner involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24 and has now entered its second month.
Just days after the war began, Ihor Ostash, Ukraine’s ambassador to Lebanon, accused Russia of sending 400 Wagner mercenaries to Kyiv to assassinate political leaders and other top officials.
The group has also been targeted in the raft of sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries.
The latest sanctions unveiled by the UK on Thursday were against “those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine including the Wagner Group, multiple defense companies and Russian Railways,” according to a British government statement.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar