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Libyan Military Chief Not Backed By West Tours Russian Aircraft Carrier


Marshal Khalifa Haftar, chief of the so-called Libyan National Army, leaves the main building of the Russian Foreign Ministry after a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow in November.

A Libyan military chief has visited a Russian aircraft carrier off the coast of the troubled North African country.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar visited the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier on January 11. The carrier and accompanying ships are headed home from a mission off Syria's coast.

The ministry said Haftar was given a tour of the ship and had a video call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss "acute issues of fighting international terrorist groups in the Middle East."

It is the strongest sign yet of Russian support for Haftar, who is allied with a parliament based in eastern Libya that is at odds with a government in the capital, Tripoli, that is backed by the West.

"This visit demonstrates who Russia backs. This is a sign of support to Haftar and this government in Libya, which does not control the entire territory of the country yet. There is no united country in Libya now," analyst Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center said.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax
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