U.S. Africa Command has mounting evidence that Russia, through the Wagner Group, continues to position military equipment in Libya capable of conducting kinetic operations there. It is assessed that the Russian Federation continues to violate U.N. Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1970 by actively providing military equipment and fighters to the front lines of the conflict in Libya. Overhead imagery shows Wagner forces and equipment on the front lines of the Libyan conflict in Sirte. Wagner, also known as the Wagner Group, is a Russian private military company. The U.S. supports a political solution in Libya and encourages all parties to adhere to the U.N. arms embargo.
As Africom has documented in a series of media releases, the U.S. assesses that Russia supplied Wagner forces operating in Libya with fighter aircraft, military armored vehicles, air defense systems and supplies, further complicating the situation and increasing the risk for miscalculation, leading to continued and needless violence in Libya. The latest imagery details the extent of equipment being supplied to Wagner. Russian military cargo aircraft, including IL-76s, continue to supply Wagner fighters. Russian air defense equipment, including SA-22s, are present in Libya and operated by Russia, the Wagner Group or their proxies. Photos also show Wagner utility trucks and Russian mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicles are also present in Libya.
In May, U.S. Africa Command reported at least 14 Mig-29s and Su-24s had been flown from Russia to Syria, where their Russian markings were painted over to camouflage their origin. The aircraft were then flown into Libya, a violation of the U.N. arms embargo. U.S. Africa Command assesses that the warplanes are being actively flown in Libyan airspace. U.S. Africa Command previously provided photographic evidence that Wagner had laid land mines and improvised explosive devices in civilian areas in and around Tripoli without regard to the safety of civilians. U.S. Africa Command has continued to document how Russia uses the Wagner Group as a proxy in Libya to establish a long-term presence on the Mediterranean Sea.