Details of a dispute between Khalifa Haftar and the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group show financial and military issues unsolved between the two, according to a report by Arabic Post news website.
The website reported a military source close to Haftar as saying that the warlord still had a debt to the Russian Group, which is a Russian recruiter of mercenaries who are fighting now for Haftar in his war on Tripoli, worth 150 million dollars since its contract ended last year.
The source said Haftar abstained from paying off the contract not because he lacked money, but because the Russians didn’t execute the contract properly.
The source said Wagner Group mercenaries had been doing technical support, training, limited battle operations, cybersecurity and other missions after they had withdrawn from the frontlines around Tripoli after Russian President Vladimir Putin had denied that Russians were on the ground in Libya.
The website reports the source as saying that leaders within Haftar’s forces had been in constant disputes with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries, especially after the latest offensive of the Government of National Accord’s forces on the western region cities alongside the coastline, which led to Haftar’s loss of seven cities in 24 hours and showed the inefficiency of Wagner Group mercenaries.
“Wagner Group has been bringing lately fighters – not so experienced – from Syria, Belarus and Serbia. This came after the Russia-Turkey agreement and after Putin refuted that Russians were fighting in Libya.” The source added, saying the Libyan pro-Haftar military leaders are still complaining about the ineffectiveness and inexperience of the Wagner mercenaries – the rookie fighters.
They expressed dismay at the lack of action by Wagner Group mercenaries, especially the technological defenses against GNA drones, which are now bossing the skies over western Libya.
Wagner Group mercenaries, according to Arabic Post, are in Tarhouna and Qasir Benghashir in southern Tripoli – snipers and fighters – and in Tobruk and Derna ports, helping in logistics, artillery and drone support.
It adds that according to Russian media, there have been at least 35 deaths among Russian mercenaries in Libya fighting for Haftar’s forces.