Russians to arm Haftar, in Challenge to West

By John Lee.

Russia is reportedly planning to arm the eastern-based General Khalifa Hiftar [Haftar], who has been fighting the western-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

According to The Times, Hafter held high-level talks last week aboard the Russian aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured), in the Mediterranean. In the past seven months he has also met the Russian foreign and defence ministers to seek support and weapons.

Russia, which backed Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 uprising, has criticised the UN and the West for backing rival armed factions in Libya.

Reuters suggests that Russian support could embolden Haftar in making a play for power in Tripoli, a move likely to fuel conflict and represent a major setback for genuine unity government in Libya.

(Source: The Times, Reuters)


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