We don’t like to talk about losses, therefore we have to take into account information from Western sources and Russian media, which are opposition-minded. If you believe the publication of Medusa, then in Libya, 35 private military experts from Russia have already died. The Znak.com portal even wrote the name of one deceased, this is a native of Yekaterinburg Evgeny Ilyubaev, an employee of PMC "Wagner", who was hit by AH-64 Apache. The same "Medusa" reported the death in Libya of "Wagnerites", which were previously noted in the Donbass.
There are no comments from the RF Ministry of Defense in this regard, but can it be assumed that there is a certain share of truth in this information?
As you know, after the invasion of NATO in 2011 and the brutal murder of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya actually broke up and fell into a state of permanent civil war of all against all. In this once prosperous country, there is a dual power between the pro-Western government in Tripoli and the Parliament, which controls the east, which is supported by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Back in the days of the USSR, we had close relations with Libya, and already the modern Russian Federation had interests there in the field of oil production and railways.
Russia's entry into the Syrian conflict prompted Haftar to seek help from Moscow back in 2015. The question was again raised during the visit of the field marshal in 2018, when he was met by the Russian military at a high level. Since the Kremlin recognizes the Faraj government, the alternative center of power in the east of the country could not receive official assistance. However, it was noted that the “Putin cook”, a major businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is considered the owner of the Wagner PMC, was present at the talks.
After that, reports from the Western press about the appearance of Russian military experts in Libya. The availability of special forces and employees of the General Staff of the General Staff of the Russian Federation near Haftar in 2018 was written by The Sun. The interest of Russian mercenaries in the protection of oil fields was also reported by the French Maghreb Confidential in early 2019. According to The Telegraph, up to 300 Wagnerites may already be in Libya.
What is this, the blatant lie of Western propaganda, or the harsh reality of modern geopolitics?
Russian political scientist Mikhail Alexandrov believes that Moscow, recognizing the official Tripoli, could rely on Haftar after his last year’s visit. He plays "both ours and yours," so there is a chance to get the field marshal to the allies. In exchange, Russia could get a military base in the Mediterranean, and domestic oligarchs would have access to Libyan oil and infrastructure:
If we got a military base in Libya, and we could put pressure on the southern flank of NATO. There Italy is at hand, American bases, and not far from Gibraltar. In fact, Libya is a strategic point that would allow us to project power in this region, and thereby limit the ambitions of NATO and the United States.
PMCs for such games are very useful because they are not directly related to the Kremlin. Great traditions in this area are in Great Britain and the USA. The only problem is that in Russia PMCs are not legalized, and the activities of their employees fall under the article on mercenarism. Outlawed, the Wagner fighters have no guarantees from the state, and no one has officially commented on their deaths in distant countries, except for the Western and opposition Russian media, as if they weren't there.