The US military command in Africa, (AFRICOM) said it currently has no evidence that the Russian fighters in Libya are being piloted by pilots of the Russian armed forces.
A spokeswoman for “AFRICOM” told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the leadership is concerned that the Russian planes are being driven by “mercenaries” who do not have the ability to carry out the tasks required of them, noting that the Russian presence in Libya “will delay the political solution.”
On June 18, AFRICOM showed photos that it said were Russian aircraft active in Libyan airspace, confirming that the transfer of Russian aircraft to Libya had increased significantly since late May.
AFRICOM’s deputy director of operations, Bradford Gering, said Russia continues to press for a strategic foothold on the southern flank of NATO at the expense of Libyan innocent lives.
AFRICOM monitored the presence of the Spoon Rest system in Libya, a Russian-made mobile early warning radar system, designed to provide tactical support for military activities and used in tactical combat operations.