Pentagon accuses UAE of funding Russian mercenaries in Libya

The US Pentagon said Wagner had deployed 2,000 mercenaries in Libya to prop up Haftar’s attempt to take control of Tripoli. [AFP]
United Arab Emirates has financed Russian mercenaries in Libya who provide support to Haftar’s forces.

The US Department of Defense says the UAE has provided financial assistance to Russia’s mercenary group Wagner. The Pentagon document, reported by Foreign Policy, points to the long-time US ally as a financier.

The report released last week was prepared by the Pentagon’s chief inspector responsible for anti-terrorism operations in Africa.

The Wagner Group, founded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigojin, a businessman known for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is accused of conducting operations in conflict-zones for Russian intelligence.

The Kremlin denies that the group has ties to the state.

The Pentagon’s findings could complicate the close ties between the US and its Gulf ally, as Democrats in Congress continue to campaign against the Trump’s administration’s $23 billion sale of missiles, F-35 fighter jets and drones to Abu Dhabi.

Some 29 arms control and human rights organisations have signed a letter opposing the sale of and asking Congress to block the deal.

Claims that the UAE used Russian mercenaries to hide its role in the Libyan conflict have long been voiced by observers in the country.

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