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Kremlin denies Russia military’s involvement in Libya


FILE PHOTO: A fighter of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Serraj, fires his rifle during clashes with forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, at Al-Khalla frontline. /Getty Images

The Russian military is not involved in any military activities in Libya and there is no data on any organized groups of Russian nationals there, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

“The Russian military is not taking part in any processes in Libya,” TASS news agency quotes Peskov. “We are unaware of any organized Russian nationals, who could take part in them,” he said.

Libya has been dogged bya civil war for years, sparked by the killing of former long-serving president Muammar Gadaffi.

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The war has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands as each faction claims legitimacy.

Reports indicate that the war in the North African country has been fueled by foreign forces with interests there.

Forces loyal to Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) under Fayez al-Sarraj and those under eastern commander Khalifa Haftar have been receiving support from various countries in their quest to take control of the country.

Russia is one of the countries that have been reported to have been involved in the Libyan conflict, with some reports indicating a presence of the Russian military.

But Peskov on Thursday denied the reports.

During a June Security Council meeting on Libya, Stephanie Williams, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefed that Libyans had to deal with almost constant bombardment, and frequent water and electricity outages during the holy month of Ramadan.

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, later said she would open investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity following the discovery of multiple mass graves in Libya.

The UN and other actors have been urging the warring factions to engage in dialogue as a means of ending the conflict which threatens to reduce the entire country to rubbles.

Recently, multiple mass graves have been discovered in the Libyan town of Tarhuna, prompting the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call for a “thorough and transparent investigation”, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

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