Libya: Putin’s aid under sanctions

The Council today imposed targeted restrictive measures on one person engaged in and providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo. The sanctions imposed against this person comprise a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

Russian citizen Yevgeny Prigozhin participates and helps the activities of the Wagner PMC in Libya, which threatens peace, stability and security in the country. In particular, Wagner is involved in numerous and repeated violations of the arms embargo in Libya, established by the UN Security Council resolution, the EU document reads.

Restrictive measures include a travel ban to the European Union and an asset freeze.

In September, the UN committee of experts on overseeing the observance of sanctions accused 11 companies, including PMC Wagner, reportedly owned by Prigozhin, of violating the arms embargo on Libya. According to experts, in May Wagner company provided 800-1200 mercenaries to help the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.

The media reports claimed that Russians from Prigozhin’s company are not only training soldiers of the army of LNA Marshal Khalifa Haftar, but also participating in combat operations, and supporting them with logistics. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin suggested that there might be presence of Russians in Libya, adding that they “do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

“If there (in Libya) there are Russian citizens, then they do not represent the interests of the Russian state,” Putin said during a press-conference in January 2020. They also “do not receive money from the Russian state,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly denied the presence of PMC Wagner’s mercenaries in the region. At the same time, Haftar’s LNA admitted that “a small number of Russians” help them with the maintenance of weapons. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke about the presence of Russian fighters in Libya.

In addition to the Wagner PMC, the UN accused 10 more companies that provided logistical support to the LNA of violating the arms embargo. These are airlines registered in Kazakhstan, Syria, Ukraine, Tajikistan, as well as two companies from the UAE.

With this new designation, the EU now has imposed a travel ban on 16 listed individuals and an asset freeze on 20 persons and 19 entities.

The Council remains gravely concerned about the situation in Libya and in particular about the acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo, human rights abuses and violations as well as the attempted illicit export of petroleum from Libya.

The EU’s sanctions complement and reinforce the sanctions adopted by the UN, which include the UN arms embargo and individual measures, including for human rights abuses.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

Recently Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has detained Abdalrahman al-Milad, a coastguard commander sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged human trafficking and migrant smuggling, its interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said it had detained Milad at the request of the U.N. Security Council and that it had referred the case to the public prosecutor to take legal measures against him.

Milad heads a coastguard unit in Zawiya, just west of Tripoli, and was one of six people sanctioned by the U.N. for involvement in people trafficking or smuggling in Libya two years ago.

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