The spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, announced Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin, met with Khalifa Haftar in the presence of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and discussed the situation in Libya and the region, TASS reported.
The meeting came on the third day since Haftar’s arrival in Moscow where he was received by his new close Russian contact, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the Deputy Minister of Defense.
Yevkurov visited Haftar in Libya twice in the last 40 days. Once in late August just before the death of Wagner Group’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin as his plane crashed outside Moscow. Then, the second meeting was on September 17 after the floods disaster that ravaged Derna and other parts of eastern Libya.
The United States, another ally of Haftar, who actually holds an American citizenship in addition to his Libyan one, commented on the meeting between Putin and Haftar by warning the latter and “armed groups’ leaders” against relying on Putin, according to Al-Hadath TV Channel, citing a White House official.
Haftar started coaxing the Russians since early 2018 when he met with defense officials onboard a Russian vessel and made a number of military deals with them, in addition to making a deal to print Libyan banknotes in Moscow, which he did and later led to the devaluation of the Libyan dinars for quite some time.
The relationship between Haftar and the Russians then grew stronger and entered a point of military backup when he brought hundreds of Wagner Group mercenaries, according to reports by the United Nations, to help him wage a war in April 2019 on the internationally-recognized government at the time seated in Tripoli.