Libya Urges U.S. to Help End Conflict as Russian Role Grows
The security chief for Libya’s UN-backed government accused Russia of fueling a months-long war to extend its influence over the strategic oil producer, and called on the U.S. to step up efforts to resolve the conflict.Fathi Bashagha, the Tripoli-based government’s interior minister, said counter terrorism cooperation with the U.S. that led to a series of devastating airstrikes on Islamic State in September was continuing, but the war launched by eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar provided fertile grounds for the terrorist organization to regroup.United Nations-led efforts to persuade regional powers that have intervened on both sides of the conflict to deescalate have been complicated by a growing deployment of Russian mercenaries who are now fighting alongside Haftar’s forces on the stalled battle lines near Tripoli. The mercenaries are employed by the Wagner Group, headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an associate of President Vladimir Putin.
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