War drums are now louder than ever as news about Russian deployment of S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Libya’s Ras Lanuf to back up warlord Khalifa Haftar has been circulated by many global media outlets.
Radio France Internationale (RFI) has confirmed that there are Twitter accounts close to Egyptian authorities saying Cairo has sent a Russian anti-aircraft system to Ras Lanuf in Libya.
RFI added that Egyptian authorities are discrete regarding the news about sending the Russian air defense system to Libya, adding that Egypt deployed nine anti-aircraft systems (S-300) in last February on the borderline with Libya.
Radio France Internationale indicated that the circulated photos from Ras Lanuf in Libya, near the area’s oil port, had shown radars and rocket launchers used for (S-300) anti-aircraft systems, adding that similar systems could have been deployed in Jufra and Sirte.
The US-based magazine, Frobes, has revealed that defense analysts are trying to confirm whether Russia has deployed a high-end air defense system to Libya.
Forbes unveiled that pictures that circulated on social media appear to show a large radar and vertical missile tubes near Ra’s Lanuf in the east of the country.
“This could be the famous S-300, or the even more potent S-400 missile system. If so it could help tip the scales in the favor of Russia and its local allies against UN-recognized Government of National Accord forces.” Forbes added.
The images were first posted online by Twitter user KRS Intl, which tracks the conflict in Libya. They were taken within the last few days.
From these first images there is a broad consensus among analysts that Forbes has spoken to that the radar looks most like the Russian 96L6E model.
“This is a target acquisition radar associated with the S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. It is also used with the newer and more powerful S-400 Triumf system. NATO gives this radar the code name Cheese Board.” According to the American magazine.
Forbes indicated that next to the radar is what appears to be a missile TEL (transporter erector launcher). The missile tubes are in the upright position, ready to launch, saying this could be either S-300 or S-400.
Middle East Source
Al Jazeera has also reported sources from inside Ras Lanuf port as saying that Russian Wagner Group mercenaries had been setting up S-300 anti-aircraft system in the vicinity of the oil terminal near the petrochemical factory.
Wagner Group mercenaries deployed the S-300 systems 250 meters away from the southern part of the petrochemical factory, which had been seized by Haftar’s militias along with Russian and Syrian mercenaries.
The sources told Al Jazeera that Russian Wagner Group mercenaries were training Syrian mercenaries on different types of weapons inside workshops at the Ras Lanuf petrochemical factory.