Libya: Two Russian warships arrive in Tobruk

Libya: Two Russian warships arrive in Tobruk

International fears of Kremlin expansion in Africa have further materialized with the arrival of two Russian warships in eastern Libya on June 16th. With UN and G7 calls for political unity in the country purportedly falling on deaf ears, Libya looks to be following a continent-wide shift towards partnership with Moscow and Beijing.

Libya’s Naval Forces General Staff announced that Russian warships had arrived in port, near Tobruk, according to Middle East Monitor.

A welcome ceremony was held for the cruiser Varyag and frigate Admiral Shaposhnikov, as reported on the Benghazi administration’s pro-General Khalifa Hafter, General Staff’s Facebook profile.

The latest in a series of Russian troops and military equipment arrivals to the country, the visit purportedly aims to enhance collaboration between the administrations in military training, technical support, and security.

The energy-rich, North African country has been split between a UN-recognised administration in its west, and Haftar’s in the east since 2014.

READ: Libya: G7 urges solution to political stalemate

Tensions over African influence with Western powers and Moscow have been steadily mounting in recent months, against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

France, which is being forced out of the western Sahel by a confederation of Moscow-aligned juntas, warned on February 26th that it would not rule out deploying troops to support Ukrainian forces, according to The National.

READ: Macron won’t rule out sending NATO troops to Ukraine

As reported by the Daily Express, Russia’s presence in Libya has gained the Kremlin five bn euros and over 2.5 bn in smuggled gold in recent years.

As fears as to Russian expansion across Africa mount, western Libyan Islamists in Dar Al-Iftaa have purportedly declared a Fatwa against the arrival of Russian assets, as the Kremlin establishes its “Africa Corps.”

“Jihad” against these forces was declared to be “a legal duty that falls upon the shoulders of the people of Libya,” with the Russian military presence in Libya labelled a form of occupation and invasion.

Middle East Monitor / The Daily Express / The National


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