Russian warship anchors off Tobruk in Putin’s latest move for Libyan base
Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which left Syrian waters earlier this week, arrived Thursday at the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya. The warship was visited by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, commander of an army in eastern Libya and a fierce opponent of the government in Tripoli supported by the UN. After a tour of the warship he held a video call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss the war on terrorist organizations in Libya.
DEBKAfile's military sources: The video call between the minister and the general was unprecedented. Russia has been cultivating its ties with Hafter since his surprise visit to Moscow in November during which Russia offered to provide Hafter's forces with warplanes, attack helicopters, tanks and various kinds of missiles.
All of these steps are intended to gain a Russian base in eastern Libya that would enable Moscow to establish a naval and air force presence in the central Mediterranean for the first time.