This time, referring to a statement by Minister of Internal Affairs in the Government of National Accord of Libya Fathi Bashagha, the American information service reported a group of Russian aerospace force combat aircraft allegedly arrive at one of the eastern Libyan airfields.
According to the Libyan, Russian Khmeimim air base command has transferred six MiG-29 fighters, two front-line SU-24 bombers accompanied by two multi-purpose SU-35 fighters (!) to Libya for active service on the side of Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). Quite naturally, Turkey has picked up the propaganda fake, even though it has not yet gained widespread momentum.
However, it is true that on May 21, a Turkish transport with military cargo was seriously damaged in the sea port of Tripoli by an air strike. According to unconfirmed reports, the raid involved at least a MiG-29-fighter-cell, presumably belonging to the Egyptian air force.
And the day before, LNA air force Chief of Staff Saqr al-Jaroushi promised "the largest aerial campaign operation against the [Turkish] aggressor."
It is hard to anticipate the scope of forces and means Marshal Haftar's air force possesses. But during hostilities for the capture of Tripoli, LNA air force regularly attacked positions of GNA-loyal detachments in various warfare segments.
Outright thanks to large-scale military and military-technical assistance from Turkey, GNA armed forces have recently recaptured a number of major localities in the east and south of Libya from the LNA, putting Marshal Haftar's troops in the cross hairs. The situation is by no means hopeless anyway.
The "Libyan army" continues to hold ground in the southern outskirts of the capital city, and keeps a lid on the country's Eastern part. At the same time, there is an acute shortage of personnel, heavy artillery and armored vehicles among the troops. Offensive actions enjoy poor support from the air.
As for the combat aviation group, it is entirely possible that the aircraft did actually belong to the Russian Aerospace Force. Most likely, Moscow decided to "project force" to appease the warring parties. At least with the end of the Holy Muslim holiday of Ramadan looming.
It can be said with great confidence that the Russian military and political leadership will not take a direct military part in Libya's internal political conflict in these circumstances. Moscow advocates scrupulous compliance with the UN requirements for non-interference in the affairs of Libya, an unconditional cessation of hostilities and the political settlement process resumption. This stance was confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on May 20.
Marshal Khalifa Haftar finds support with the UAE, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, France, Greece, and Cyprus. It is hoped that, given his army's precarious situation, the Arab countries will step up their material and technical assistance to him. Up to the present moment the key deliveries of military equipment and weapons were carried out by Egypt and the Emirates.
The Egyptian leadership is perhaps most keenly interested in neutralizing the armed groups loyal to the GNA, which mainly belong to international terrorists or extremist Islamic groups banned in most of the world.
In Egypt itself, the situation is seriously destabilized by the extensive and well-hidden underground of the prohibited international terrorist group The Muslim Brotherhood, whose ideology and practice of actions is close to Libya-located Islamic organizations. Therefore, religious zealots in the neighboring country pose a real threat to the moderate secular government and the people of Egypt.
We can hope that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is critical of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political course, will step up assistance and support to Marshal Haftar in order to prevent the implementation of Turkish plans for Libya.
At the same time, it's quite likely that volunteers from Egypt and other Arab states, armed with weapons obtained from these and other countries, may come down on the side of the GNA.