Tug of war

Libya: Why the Russia-Ukraine war threatens the fragile balance of power

By Sarah Vernhes

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Posted on March 8, 2022 17:38

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush in Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush attend a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia August 19, 2021. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS

The war in Ukraine could upset the fragile balance of power in Libya, where Russia remains one of the key players.

The shockwaves of the Russian offensive in Ukraine are being felt in Libya, where Moscow is one of the principal foreign players in the conflict tearing the country apart. There, the Kremlin supports, among others, Khalifa Haftar – the strongman of the East who was also supported during the offensive of his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) against Tripoli in 2019.

This support took several forms: the arrival of snipers, artillery and air control. For its part, the Russian state’s printing house Goznak has run printed money several times to help bail out the banks of Cyrenaica, which were deprived of cash from the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.

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