Disinfo: The US lies about the Russian presence in Libya to gain access to oil resources

Summary

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, David Schenker, tried to justify the Turkish intervention in Libya misreporting on Russia’s role there. He expressed Washington’s concern on the “affluence of Russian military equipment, weapons and fighters of the private military company Wagner to Libya”, but he provided no confirmed source that proved the presence of the Russian military contingent in Libya. This rhetoric may be related to US interests in the oil production in the region, for which it is necessary to remove Russia’s influence in the Middle East.

Disproof

The presence of Russian fighters of the Wagner Group has been confirmed not only by the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli but also by the US, the UK, the United Nations and the independent Russian outlet Meduza. An internal source in Wagner confirmed to Reuters that the group started recruiting Syrian fighters and sending them to Libya along with Russian private military contractors in 2019, a process that accelerated in the spring of 2020. In May 26, 2020, the US Command for Africa (AFRICOM) reported the presence of Russian warplanes in Libya, confirmed by satellite images (see here and here).

By accusing the US of having an interest in Libya’s oil while denying Russia’s presence in the country, the article adheres to a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of accusing others of transgressions to deflect attention of its own misdeeds. You can see many other examples in our database, such as claims that Russia was expelled from G8 for no real reason, that not only there is no evidence of Russian meddling in the French, European and US elections but that it were foreign powers who interfered in Russian elections, that the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya is just a rumour and Russia was never involved in Libya, or that by claiming that there are Russian warplanes in Libya, AFRICOM is waging a psy-op on US public.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Libya, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Natural resources, 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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