Russia is attempting to turn Libya into a "new Syria," said an article published by UK's The Sun newspaper on Tuesday.
The UK intelligence agencies have reportedly warned Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia is sending weapons and troops to Libya in order to turn the North African country into a “new Syria,” The Sun quoted a senior government source as saying.
“Dozens of officers from the Russia’s GRU military intelligence service as well as its Special Forces wing, Spetsnaz, had already been deployed to Libya upon Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order,” the newspaper said in its report.
However, Alexander Kramarenko, Development Director of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), said that this report is part of “London’s campaign to target Russian armed forces.”
“Of course, the Anglo-Saxons, the British and the Americans, can not accept the fact that we are smartly able to show military power, that is, by showing moderation and conducting a multifaceted diplomatic action at the same time as all players,” Sputnik news quoted Kramarenko as saying.
The report added that the Russian military was already operating two bases in Libya’s coastal towns of Tobruk and Benghazi under the cover of a Russian private military company called the Wagner Group.
This claim was rejected by a number of deputies in their statements for Asharq Al-Awsat.
"There are no military bases in Benghazi and Tobruk," said Mohamed Ibrahim Tamer, a member of the House of Representatives for the South.
He stressed that they are training camps for the Libyan National Army only.
The Sun's report coincided with a visit to Benghazi on Monday by British Ambassador to Libya Frank Baker, who announced a project to remove remnants of war.
“The UK is proud to announce new project which will spend £1.5 million over the next two years to create a safer environment for communities in Benghazi by removing the explosive remnants of war,” Baker said in a televised statement.
"I saw the devastation caused by the terrorist groups in the city."
He pointed to Benghazi's success in getting rid of terrorism, yet he said it must work to eliminate the factors that caused the emergence of extremism and terrorism, the city’s municipality said through its official Facebook page.