The US military believes that an unarmed American drone reported lost near Libya’s capital last month was in fact shot down by Russian air defenses.
The US drone that was downed on November 21 near Tarhouna made US Africa Command speak and say Russia was behind the shooting down as its air defenses “thought it was a GNA drone.”
US Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads Africa command, told Reuters he believed the operators of the air defenses at the time didn’t know it was a US remotely piloted aircraft when they fired on it, adding US Africa Command isn’t convinced with this excuse.
An official in Libya’s GNA told Reuters that Russian mercenaries fighting for LNA appeared to be responsible, while Russian authorities deny using military contractors in any foreign military theater and say any Russian civilians who may be fighting abroad are volunteers, knowing that the LNA denies it has foreign backing.
Meanwhile, one current and one former Russian contractor told Reuters that since September the LNA had received ground support from several hundred private military contractors from a Russian group.