Russia looking to recruit fighters from Libya, repositioning troops around Kyiv

Russia looking to recruit fighters from Libya, repositioning troops around Kyiv

Russia intends to begin fighters out of Libya, the Pentagon said Wednesday, adding that about 20 percent of Russian forces around Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv were repositioning elsewhere.

“We have seen, over the last 24 hours, the repositioning of a small percentage of the troops… that Russia had arrayed against Kyiv. Probably in the neighborhood of 20 percent… we assess some are repositioning into Belarus,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

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Speaking to reporters during the daily press briefing, Kirby said none of the repositioned forces went back to their home garrisons. “That’s not a small point. If the Russians are serious about de-escalation because that’s their claim, they should send them home.”

But, he was quick to point out that Russia was still carrying out air and ground strikes on Kyiv. “The air strikes have not stopped, not at all. So, Kyiv… is still very much under threat,” Kirby said.

The Pentagon official repeated previous comments that Russia appeared to be focusing on attacking the Donbas. He added that the Russian mercenary Wagner Group had deployed around 1,000 fighters to the Donbas region.

In a new development, Kirby said the Wagner Group was now looking to recruit mercenaries from Libya. The Pentagon had previously said it had indications of recruitment from Syria, but this was the first mention of Libya.

A defense official said that another new development observed was Russian troops “walking away” from the Chernobyl power station and moving into Belarus.

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