On Wednesday, the US military has strongly rejected claims by Russia that it has deployed fighter jets to support former forces in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
The head of the defense committee in the upper house of parliament and former head of the Russian Air Force Viktor Bondarev has dismissed the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) claim as foolish. He said, “If the warplanes are in Libya, they are Soviet and not Russian.”
The US Africa Command said on Tuesday that Russia’s military aircraft had recently reached Libya from a Russian airbase via Syria. AFRICOM, however, did not say how many aircraft were transferred or how many warplanes arrived in Libya.
AFRICOM said the aircraft was likely to provide close air support for the Wagner Group. AFRICOM said that the Wagner Group is a state-sponsored company of Russia, which employs military commander Khalifa Haider to fight with the eastern forces.
Bondrev, a former head of the Russian Air Force, said many African nations operate MiG-29 fighter jets, and similar images have been seen on Libyan airspace in photographs released by AFRICOM.