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Scale of Russian mercenary mission in Libya exposed

A new investigation conducted by BBC has revealed the scale of military operations conducted by a Russian mercenary group in Libya’s civil war. The mercenary group, called Wagner, allegedly left a Samsung tablet behind that revealed its key role in the war, as well as traceable fighter codenames. Also on the tablet was a so-called shopping list that included top-of-the-line military equipment likely only accessible through links with Russia or another country with large military capabilities. However, Russia denies any links to Wagner. The group was first identified in 2014 when they were vocal in backing pro-Russian separatists in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Since 2014, the group has also been involved in several regions in countries such as Syria, Mozambique, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. The fighters appeared in Libya in April of 2019, joining the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar following an attack on the UN-backed government in Tripoli. The conflict was brought to an end when a ceasefire deal was reached in October of 2020. The group is known to be very secretive, however, the investigation conducted by BBC lead to rare access to two former Wagner fighters. One of the ex-fighters revealed that the group killed prisoners. Other revelations include evidence of suspected war crimes such as the intentional killing of civilians.

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