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Russia maintains Libya role after Wagner's mutiny, Prigozhin's death

A senior defense official visited eastern Libya to meet with the Libyan National Army and assure them that Russian support would continue.
A man wearing camouflage visits the grave of Wagner private mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a private jet crash in the Tver region last week, at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in Saint Petersburg on August 30, 2023. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
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On Aug. 22, a day prior to the plane crash that claimed the life of Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov paid a visit to Benghazi. 

Yevkurov's visit included a meeting with Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), in the company of high-ranking LNA officers.

The timing of the visit, nearly two months after Prigozhin's Wagner Group rebelled against Russia's military establishment, was partially to reassure the LNA about the Kremlin's standing and control over the mercenary force. 

The short-lived mutiny by Wagner in Russia, followed by Prigozhin's demise, put the future of the private military contractor and its operations outside of Russia under the spotlight. There has been much speculation about how the events in Russia would influence the group’s current active operations in Africa, including in Libya. A senior Wagner delegation was sent to Benghazi in July following the mutiny to assure the LNA’s leadership that there would be no change in their operations.

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