Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Russian jets in Libya: Why Haftar's MiGs will 'change nothing' on the ground

A fleet of Russian-made fighter jets which have arrived in Libya in support of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army forces are militarily “useless” and will “change nothing” on the ground, aviation analysts have told Middle East Eye.

Instead, the planes, which are probably piloted by mercenaries, have likely been deployed with Moscow’s approval in order to deter further Turkish-backed attacks on LNA forces.

At least six MiG-29 Fulcrum and two Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighter jets escorted by two Russian Air Force planes were reported last week to have landed in the North African country.

Fathi Bashaga, the interior minister for the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli, told the Bloomberg news agency last Thursday that the GNA had information that the planes had arrived.

On the same day, a reliable source told MEE that a suspected “Syrian” Mig-29 was stationed at the Haftar-held airbase at al-Jufrah.

Meanwhile a satellite image taken of the base on 19 May appeared to show a MiG-29 on the facility’s taxiway, suggesting that the other seven planes were there as well

Read this analysis wriiten in collaboration with Jalel Harchaoui and Tom Cooper on Middle East Eye : Russian jets in Libya: Why Haftar's MiGs will 'change nothing' on the ground

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