By Tom Newton Dunn
Intelligence chiefs have told Theresa May that Vladimir Putin wants to make the war-torn North African nation “his new Syria”.
RUSSIA is moving troops and missiles into Libya in a bid to enforce a new stranglehold on the West, Theresa May has been warned.
Intelligence chiefs have told the PM that Vladimir Putin wants to make the wartorn North African country “his new Syria”.
Moscow is sending missiles to Libya to get a stranglehold on European immigration routes
And seizing control of the biggest illegal immigration route to Europe is seen as Moscow’s primary goal.
The Sun can reveal that “dozens” of officers from the GRU military spy service as well as its Spetznaz special forces wing are already on the ground in eastern Libya, initially carrying out training and liaison roles.
Two Russian military bases are already now up and running in the coastal towns of Tobruk and Benghazi, using the cover of the controversial Russian private military company the Wagner Group which already has outposts there.
Russia’s devastating Kalibr anti-ship missiles and state of the art S300 air defence missile systems are also now believed to be on the ground in Libya.
The Kremlin has sided with Libya’s most powerful warlord, General Khalifa Haftar, and is also supplying his troops with heavy equipment.
Haftar – who leads the Libyan National Army – is the defacto military ruler of much of Eastern Libya.
If Moscow seizes control of the country’s coastline it could turn on a fresh tidal wave of migrants crossing the Mediterranean “like a tap”, a senior Whitehall source claimed.
The source added: “What Putin is doing in Libya is straight out of his playbook for Syria and Crimea before that.
“He sees ungoverned space and is taking it to exact maximum influence over the West.
“The fact is we are extremely vulnerable to both immigration flows and oil shock from Libya.”
The source added: “It is a potentially catastrophic move to allow him to undermine Western democracy, but again we are doing nothing about it”.
A Russian naval port on the North African coast would also open operations for its ships in the western Med for the first time in decades and potentially threaten the Strait of Gibraltar.
Senior MPs last night called on Downing Street to take urgent action to counter the new Russian threat after The Sun’s revelations.
Commons Foreign Affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said: “It’s is extremely alarming Russia wants to open up a new front against the West in Libya, but it should also come as no surprise.
“They will without a doubt try to exploit migration routes across Africa.
“We need a coordinated government response because the destabilisation of a sub-Saharan country is intimately linked to UK national security.”
Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor of The Sun.