Mercenary from the Wagner PMC Alexander Kuznetsov (callsign “Ratibor”) was severely wounded during fights in Libya.
Kuznetsov met and took pictures in the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin about three years ago.
The mercenary was promptly taken to a St. Petersburg hospital, Medusa writes, citing a source in Wagner.
In December 2016, the commander of the 1st reconnaissance and assault company of Wagner PMC and three other mercenary commanders met in the Kremlin with President Putin, Fontanka writes, publishing the photo.
Officially, the meeting was not reported. According to the St. Petersburg publication, in 2010 Ratibor was convicted of kidnapping. Three years later, Kuznetsov left on parole, and in 2014 became the company commander in Wagner PMC.
Earlier, the Conflct Intelligence Team research group and Bloomberg agency wrote about the participation of PMC’s fighters in the Libyan civil war on the side of the Libyan National Army, Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
In March alone, according to The Telegraph, about 300 mercenaries were transferred to the African country.
Experts find proof of PMC Wagner’s presence in Libya
The Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) research group has confirmed Bloomberg’s report that fighters of the Russian PMC Wagner are participating in the Libyan civil war.
According to CIT, the Russian mercenaries are fighting on the side of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The research team has identified one of the Wagner fighters and contacted his family. Previously, the mercenary served in the Russian Navy, CIT found out.
Currently, a parliament based in the eastern Tobruk and a Government of National Accord (the GNA), led by a UN-backed prime minister based in the western Tripoli, are both claiming power in Libya. LNA has been unsuccessful in its attacks on Tripoli.
Bloomberg reported on September 25 that more than one hundred fighters of the Wagner PMC had arrived in the country to support the Haftar forces. Some of the mercenaries died in the fight, the agency said.
The CIT investigation lists evidence that the Russian PMC is on the front line of the conflict in Libya. In particular, there is a video footage of a Ural-4320 military truck with armored glass.
Similar cars were seen in Sudan and the Central African Republic, where “the Wagnerites” operate. On the video with the Russian Ural, one can hear a sentence in Russian, “we are heading to Ajabiya”.
The village of Ajdabiya is controlled by the LNA forces.
In addition, researchers cite reports of the group “3rd Tripoli Infantry Battalion,” loyal to the GNA. The reports suggest that the area around the Tripoli airport was hit by aircrafts of the GNA Air Force.
A truck resembling the Ural was seen at the airport. The group published a video footage of personal belongings of a Russian mercenary thrown away after the air strike.
Among them is a Sberbank card issued in the name of Vadim Bekshenev and a mobile phone.
Bekshenev’s ex-wife and son, as well as his friend, confirmed to CIT that the photographs on the video were indeed his.
The pictures from the fighter’s phone are the same as those on his social media accounts.
According to CIT, Bekshenev served in the Russian Navy. There are pictures of him wearing in an officer uniform.
Also, photos of a PMC Wagner reward “For the victory over ISIS” were found on Bekshenev’s phone. According to CIT, after serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the man signed a contract with the military company.
The award may indicate that he could be participating in the Syrian operation as part of the PMC before being moved to Libya.
CIT concludes that apparently, PMC Wagner has been operating in Libya.
Turkish aviation is also known to have been in the country on the side of the GNA, Egypt and the UAE (which is on LNA’s side), as well as other Russian PMCs and foreign mercenaries.
The situation in Libya is being monitored by European leaders, because, despite the conflict, the country exports oil and is a part of the route for African refugees traveling to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea, CIT notes.
Top Photo: Andrey “Brodyaga” Bogatov, Andrey “Sedoy” Troshev, Vladimir Putin, Alexander “Ratibor” Kuznetsov, Dmitry “Wagner” Utkin.