The doubts of the experts

“I highly doubt that a single Libyan will arrive in Ukraine,” explained Jalel Harchaoui , a researcher specializing in Libya. The situation could be different for the mercenaries of the Wanger group, allies of Haftar. “On Russia’s side, tactical changes and minor adjustments in Libya are inevitable in the wake of a dramatic event like the start of Moscow’s war against Ukraine. But it is important not to confuse them with a strategic change or an effective end of the Russian military mission in Libya. So far, there is no tangible reason to think that major changes have been made, ”Harchaoui said. Tarek Megerisi, a Libyan analyst and fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), is equally skeptical of the possibility of seeing Libyan fighters on the Ukrainian front. “It is hard enough to get Libyans to fight in Libya. But some mercenaries from the Wagner group have left and perhaps brought Syrians and others with them, ”says Megerisi.

The Wagner group

According to the latest  report  by the UN Panel of Experts, in Libya there are at least 2,000 Wagner men equipped with Pantsir S-1 anti-aircraft defense systems, MiG-29 fighters and above all Su-24 tactical bombers, mainly employed for ground attack. The French website RFI reports that Russian paramilitaries deployed to several military bases in eastern Libya have withdrawn from their various positions to reorganize themselves in the two bases of Al Jufra and Barak al Shati .. “Hundreds of them would be transported to Russia for the war in Ukraine. The pro-regime Syrian mercenaries hired by Wagner to fight in Libya are also sent as reinforcements to Russia, ”says the French newspaper. But a European diplomatic source contacted by Insideover explains that in Moscow it is not convenient to move too many men from the sands of the Libyan desert:  Just do two calculations Wagner has about two thousand men in Libya and the Russians, between wounded and dead, lose more or less a thousand men a day in Ukraine. Leaving Libya unguarded to last two more days in Ukraine would make no sense ”.

A proxy war

According to the president of Algeria,  Abdelmajid Tebboune , a proxy war is still ongoing in Libya today, despite the ceasefire, which involves several countries. “We have the presence of Wagner, the presence of the Syrians who are our brothers and sisters, the Turks, the Sudanese, those mobilized from Chad. There are three or four countries at war in Libya, a war that is not that of the Libyans and has nothing to do with them, ” Tebboune told US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The real risk, in hindsight, is that of a spillover of the Ukrainian conflict in Libya, where a NATO country (Turkey) and Russia have already clashed in 2019-2020.

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