The French newspaper Le Monde has reported that the Russian Wagner Military Group is attempting to legitimize its presence in Libya by proposing a new scenario. The most prominent scenarios, according to the newspaper, revolve around Moscow’s efforts to persuade Khalifa Haftar to sign an agreement that stipulates the supply of advanced air defense systems, training of pilots, and the development of joint Russian-Libyan airbases, in addition to naval bases. This potential contract would be part of the Kremlin’s desire to give an official character to Wagner’s “grey” activities under the authority of the Ministry of Defense, especially after the end of the “Prigozhin” era.
Haftar’s visit to Moscow at the end of September and speculation about Russian plans in Libya were also mentioned by Le Monde. The newspaper pointed out that repeated meetings between Russian officials and Haftar explained the maturity and development of relations, wondering what the new form of Wagner’s presence in Libya could be.
Wagner has informally settled in eastern and southern Libya since 2018-2019, especially during the attack on Tripoli. Haftar relied on it to fight on the front lines. Haftar recently visited Moscow and met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who discussed with him the situation in Libya and the region. In addition, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister visited Benghazi on September 17 after the Derna flood disaster.