The US-based Democracy and Human Rights Foundation (DHRF) has obtained intelligence, proving the presence of regular Russian troops near Al-Jufra Airbase.
"The presence of these troops makes it clear that Russia has no intention to leave Libya anytime soon," the DHRF said in a statement Thursday.
It warned that the deployment of regular members of the Russian armed forces along with the Wagner mercenaries stationed since 2017 is a clear escalation and poses a threat to the national security of Libya, the United States, and the European Union.
The foundation called on the Libyan government and the international community to confront the Russian "threat" and prevent Libya from becoming a second Syria.
"The inability of Libyan officials to disclose to the world that Russia now maintains regular troops in the country is further indication that Putin is tightening his grip on the Libyan security and political apparatus," the statement read.
The foundation indicated that it turned over copies of confidential aerial photographs and coordinates of the location of the Russian troops to the Libyan authorities, the US, EU, and the UK.
"There will be no future for freedom, democracy, or human rights in regions where Putin maintains military bases, trades his veto power for influence and engages in media and electoral sabotage,” said Emadeddin Muntasser, president of the DHRF.
Muntasser underscored that Russia should be excluded from any peace process in Libya, insisting that providing Putin with a role in Libya’s future is a miscalculation of historic proportions. "Putin makes war, not peace," the DHRF Head says.