Putin Says He Hasn’t Sent Russian Mercenaries to Libya

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today had a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"If there are Russian citizens there, then they are not representing the interests of the Russian state and they are not receiving money from the Russian state", said Putin, in addressing Libya specifically.

The contractors are recruited by a private military group known as Wagner Group whose members are mostly ex-service personnel.

The PM noted that, despite Poland "regularly" voicing its concerns over the pipeline to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it "doesn't change the fact that Warsaw and Berlin have different opinions on this issue".

Merkel met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin for talks set to focus on flashpoints in the Middle East.

The German and Russian leaders also discussed the conflict in war-torn Libya.

"The point of visits like today is to talk with one another, not about one another", said Merkel.

The two leaders expressed happiness at the significant landmarks the Special Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries had covered in the recent past, particularly in the year 2019.

"We are involving Europe and those players who are influential there, for that we need Russia", Maas told Germany's NTV television.

Political analysts in Kiev said they expected the topic to be overshadowed by Iran tensions, while Merkel could ask Putin to push Tehran for a transparent investigation of the plane crash. "The question is the timing", added Putin, addressing the USA sanctions.

"Germany is convinced that Iran should not have access to nuclear weapons and therefore we will use all diplomatic means in order for the agreement, which of course is not ideal, to be preserved", said Merkel, alluding to USA criticism of the deal as ineffective. Merkel is to invite Putin to a Berlin conference on Libya later this month, diplomatic sources said.

Turkey are sending troops to back the UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli government, and Moscow are allegedly backing general Khalifa Haftar's Libyan Armed Forces (LNA) in the east of the country. Haftar said he would fight on despite the call for a ceasefire.

Other reports by iNewsToday