British media hysteria over the “Russian threat and aggression” reached a new level. The Sun cited unnamed UK intelligence chiefs who have told Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia is sending troops and missiles into Libya to “enforce stranglehold” on the West.
According to the outlet, the unnamed intelligence officials have warned May that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to make the North African country “his new Syria.”
According to the report, Moscow’s main goal is to seize the biggest illegal immigration route into Europe. The Sun also claimed that it can “reveal” that “dozens” of GRU officers as well as Spetznaz special forces were already on the ground in eastern Libya. They are presumably carrying out training and liaison roles.
According to the outlet, there are already two Russian military bases that are already operational in the cities of Tobruk and Benghazi. The Russian military is, however, using the cover of the mysterious private military company “the Wagner Group” which reportedly already has outposts there.
According to the Sun’s unnamed intelligence officials, Russia is delivering its Kalibr anti-ship and surface cruise missiles and S300 air defense missile systems to Libya.
The Sun also reported that Russia has sided with General Khalifa Haftar, who earlier in 2018 did, in fact, request a Russian military base in the country. It was confirmed by the Head of the Russian Contact Group in Libya Lev Dengov in an interview with Egyptian outlet Youm7. According to him, Haftar had directly contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense to request the establishment of a Russian military base.
There is, as of yet, no official bilateral military cooperation with the forces of General Haftar and the Russian military.
Despite that, the Sun claimed that if Moscow seizes control of the country’s coastline that could lead to a fresh wave of migrants crossing the Mediterranean “like a tap”, according to an unnamed senior Whitehall source.
“What Putin is doing in Libya is straight out of his playbook for Syria and Crimea before that. He sees ungoverned space and is taking it to exact maximum influence over the West. The fact is we are extremely vulnerable to both immigration flows and oil shock from Libya,” the unnamed source commented.
“It is a potentially catastrophic move to allow him to undermine Western democracy, but again we are doing nothing about it,” the source also highlighted.
The Sun also reported that a Russian naval port on the North African coast would also open operations in the western Mediterranean for the first time in years and could potentially threaten the Strait of Gibraltar.
Following the Sun’s report, the outlet cited senior MPs who urged Downing Street to tackle the “Russian threat.”
Commons Foreign Affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat was cited as claiming that Russia’s presumed actions are alarming, but also unsurprising.
“It’s is extremely alarming Russia wants to open up a new front against the West in Libya, but it should also come as no surprise. They will without a doubt try to exploit migration routes across Africa. We need a coordinated government response because the destabilization of a sub-Saharan country is intimately linked to UK national security.”
This new round of hysteria follows the US, Dutch and the UK accusations of Russian hacking, as well as various other allegations related to the Arctic, the Skripal case and chemical weapons usage as well as civilian casualties in Syria. The common denominator of all of these accusations is that they are not accompanied by any evidence whatsoever.