Putin receive Haftar in Moscow, offers more military support to LNA

Sep 28, 2023 | International actors

On 28 September, Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Khalifa Hafta was received by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu. Topics discussed included the regional situation and, in particular, current developments in Libya. They discussed the situation in the disaster areas, ways to expand bilateral relations, and other matters of mutual interest. Putin stressed that Russia would continue to support the LNA. This also applies to the former Wagner mercenaries, who have now by and large been integrated into other private military companies, close to Russia’s Military Intelligence Service, the GRU. Furthermore, Putin offered to expand official military support, including military-technical cooperation. There has been widespread speculation that Moscow is seeking to establish a naval base in Tubruq.

When he first arrived in Moscow on 26 September, Haftar was received at the airport by Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Yunus-bek Yevkurov, who officially invited him to Russia during his recent visit to Benghazi in mid-September. Haftar was accompanied, among others, by the head of his office and member of the 5+5 Joint Military Commision (JMC) Khairi al-Tamimi and his son, Chief of Staff of the Security Forces Khaled Haftar.

On 27 September, the Libyan delegation held talks with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence and the General Staff. The talks focused on the situation in the disaster zone in eastern Libya, Russian support for the LNA air force and air defense, and the continued presence of Russian mercenaries. On the same day, at the invitation of the Chair of the Russian Fatwa Council, the LNA Commander visited the Grand Mosque to pray for the victims of the flood disaster together with Yevkurov.