US concludes Russian mercenaries shot down its drone near Libya’s Tripoli
Reuters has reported that the U.S. military believes that an unarmed American drone reported lost near Libya’s capital last month was in fact shot down by Russian air defenses and it is demanding the return of the aircraft’s wreckage, according to U.S. Africa Command.
U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads Africa command, said he believed the operators of the air defenses at the time “didn’t know it was a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft when they fired on it.”
“But they certainly know who it belongs to now and they are refusing to return it. They say they don’t know where it is but I am not buying it,” Townsend told Reuters in a statement, without elaborating.
The U.S. assessment, which has not been previously disclosed, concludes that either Russian private military contractors or Haftar’s forces were operating the air defenses at the time the drone was reported lost on November 21, said Africa Command spokesman Air Force Colonel Christopher Karns.
Karns said the United States believed the air defense operators fired on the U.S. aircraft after “mistaking it for an opposition” drone.