Last Tuesday, spy photos of eight Russian jets were captured by US Military Intelligence that were sent to Libya as support for General Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army faction.
When Moscow was asked to comment on the presence of Russian military assets, there was no statement given by Russian officials on the matter.
According to Forbes, there was an arrival of the jets that came after the LNA had to move out last May 18 away from the Al-Watiya airbase which important is because of its closeness to the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
An earlier accord was reached between General Haftar's group and the National Government in Tripoli. This ongoing conflict in Libya will unsettle the state of the country.
General Stephen Townsend of the U.S. Africa Command said in a press statement that the jets were Russian soldiers for hire that will be flying the Russian jets to attack Libyans soon, which was denied by Libya from an RT News report.
Another US Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigan explained that Russia sending equipment and personnel will be the herald of noticeable Russian military in the affairs of the southern Mediterranean. Should Russia occupy bases along the Libyan coast, then it will be followed by extended range anti-access area denial (A2/AD) in the region which explained by National Interest. This will be problematic for the security of the southern end of Europe.
Spy photos that were captured included Su-24 bombers, and the older MiG-29S called Fulcrum C by NATO alliance, to date the Fulcrums are numerous as Russia's most capable front-line jets equal to modern fighters.
Further investigation into the six MiG-29s has hit pay dirt, as they have been spotted deploying from Russia to Iran, next from Iran to Syria.
Aside from the MiG-29s, along with the package was an escort of modern (VKS) Su-35 jet which are bigger more powerful versions of the MiG-29s, but the Su-35s turned back to the Syrian base they came from.
Russia and Mercenaries
To avoid getting in hot waters, mercenaries like the Wagner private military company are used by Russia as expendable assets, which exposes Moscow to less risk and politically unaccountable to meddle in hot places like Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
Case in point is an assault on a US base located in Syria during 2018 in which some casualties were Russian mercenaries. The deaths of these Russian mercenaries were conveniently hushed by both the US and Russia, not mentioning it and concealing a potential flashpoint for war.
As an asset, the LNA will be a source of business and give Moscow a base to operate from the Mediterranean, which is of strategic importance. Russia and Turkey are active in exchanging mercenary force in the Libyan civil war.
Some digging revealed that in 2017, Erik Prince, formerly owned the Black Water mercenary group, with connection to prominent US politicians. It might be that mercenary pilots were used to flying a plane as support for the Libyan National Army, this was confirmed in warisboring.
The Libyan conflict
It began in 2011 when the incumbent Muammar Qaddafi was overthrow, destabilized Libya had the LNA and GNA civil war that started in 2014, and since then the country is in chaos.
Next came ISIS which was stamped out shortly by a combined local and multinational force in 2017.