Russia is trying to establish a foothold in Libya, The Sun newspaper reported, adding that Moscow has moved troops and missiles to eastern Libya to achieve this goal.
"British intelligence officials have told Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia has moved troops and missiles into Libya in an attempt to impose its presence in the country," the British newspaper said in a report published Monday evening.
The report added, “Dozens of officers from the GRU military spy service as well as its Spetznaz special forces wing are already on the ground in eastern Libya, initially carrying out training and liaison roles."
"Two Russian military bases are already now up and running in the coastal towns of Tobruk and Benghazi, using the cover of the controversial Russian private military company the Wagner Group which already has outposts there." The British newspaper did not elaborate on the sources.
Intelligence chiefs have told Theresa May that Vladimir Putin wants to make the war-torn North African nation “his new Syria” the Sun said.
"The success of Russia and its control of the coastal strip in Libya could send new waves of migrants in the Mediterranean," the newspaper quoted an unnamed British government source as saying. "What Putin is doing in Libya matches exactly what he did in Syria and in the Crimea." "The truth is that we are threatened by new influxes of migrants into Europe and by Libya's influence in the oil markets."
"The presence of a Russian seaport in North Africa allows its ships to carry out operations in the western Mediterranean for the first time in decades and thus threaten the Strait of Gibraltar."
Members of the British House of Representatives demanded the government take urgent measures to reverse the Russian move in Libya. "It is worrying that Russia is trying to open a new front against the West in Libya, but we should not be surprised," said Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. "Moscow will undoubtedly try to exploit the migration routes to Europe."