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Moscow cultivates neutral image as Libya quakes

Despite the Russians' nominal condemnation of renewed fighting in Libya and continuing contacts with all the major players, Moscow doesn’t want to see Gen. Khalifa Hifter defeated.
General Khalifa Haftar (L), commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Moscow, Russia August 14, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - UP1ED8E0PWK6C

MOSCOW — Russia’s deputy foreign minister and Putin’s special envoy for the MENA region, Mikhail Bogdanov, received a phone call April 6 from Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Hifter, the strongman who controls two-thirds of the Libyan territory, ordered his forces April 4 to make a “victorious march” on Tripoli, the capital of the UN-backed government of Fayez al-Sarraj, supported among other groups by powerful Misrata militias.

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