Disinfo: There is no reliable evidence of Russians fighting in Libya

Summary

At the moment there is not a single Russian soldier in the war zone in Libya. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not informed of reliable data on Russian citizens participating in clashes on Libyan territory.

The intent is to create a false idea that claims that Moscow interfered in the Libyan armed confrontation and publicly sided with one of its participants. Russia is doing its best to promote a ceasefire and a political settlement to the crisis in Libya. No intentions of supporting any of the conflicting parties have ever been proven.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative about the Wagner group and Russian presence in Libya.

Bloomberg reported, that more than 100 Wagner contractors arrived in Libya in early September to assist General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against the GNA in Tripoli that began in April. The group is a private army linked to the Kremlin that has been fighting on the front lines of the Libyan war.

The Russian firm Wagner Group is a shadowy mercenary outfit, actively engaged in conflicts on the Kremlin’s behalf from Ukraine to Syria to the Central African Republic. The Wagner group members are mostly ex-service personnel, fought clandestinely in support of Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters interviews with dozens of contractors, their friends and relatives.

According to Foreign Policy, the group fell into disgrace after the Syrian offensive and has recently been trying to find work in Africa in the training of local militias and with contracts for private security. Three Russian journalists who were investigating Wagner's presence in the Central African Republic were murdered in the summer of 2018. Others were threatened.

To know more about the disinformation message regarding the Wagner group, check our report on a Russian attempt to hide all the pieces of evidence.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Libya, Russia
  • Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, Middle East, Foreign mercenaries

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Trump opposes destroying the Middle East so he cancelled US funding of Daesh

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged US funding of jihadist terrorism. Not only has the US never funded Daesh, it is actually leading an international coalition to defeat it. The US has supported other moderate Syrian rebels opposed to Moscow-backed President Bashar Al Assad, though this support was cancelled by President Donald Trump in July 2017. This disinformation narrative thus serves the dual purpose of both portraying the US as sponsoring terrorism for its own interests as well as  branding all Syrian rebel groups as members of “Daesh”.

The EUvsDisinfo database has a long set of disinformation cases on this subject, such as claims that the US created ISIS when Al Qaeda went outside the script, that US special forces were deployed with Al Qaeda in Idlib, that jihadists are US and European proxies in the Middle East, that US and UK will use terrorist organisations against China, that the US is moving ISIS to Afghanistan or that the US may have evacuated ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi instead of killing him.

Officials, connected to child molestation, are behind the Lanzarote convention

The government has started the process of ratifying the Lanzarote convention. In Armenia, they are going to take another step to distort the psychology of our children and adolescents, to confuse their minds, to deprive them of their innocence. As a result, to degenerate our society. Officials from the UN and other international organisations involved and exposed in child molestation, are behind the Lanzarote Convention.

Disproof

This disinformation message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Western moral decay, as well as about imposing international conventions and laws on countries that destroy the moral foundations of traditional societies.

The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as “the Lanzarote Convention”, requires criminalisation of all kinds of sexual offences against children. It sets out that states in Europe, and beyond, shall adopt specific legislation and take measures to prevent sexual violence, to protect child victims and to prosecute perpetrators.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated after Crimea joined Russia

Relations between Russia and Western countries, including the European Union, deteriorated as a result of the Ukraine crisis and of Crimea joining Russia in March 2014, as well as because of the sanctions against Russia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing war in Ukraine.

Crimea did not "join" Russia in March 2014; it was illegally annexed by Moscow based on an illegitimate referendum. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol in 2014.