Russia has said it delivered MiG-29 fighters to aid Syrian Air Force and not to support Haftar militia in Libya.
“As part of the military-technical cooperation between the two countries, Russia handed over the second batch of upgraded and modernized MiG-29 fighters to Syria during a ceremony held at Khmeimim air base,” a military source was quoted as saying by Avia.pro on May 31.
The jets will be flown to other Syrian air bases from Khmeimim starting June 1. “It is not known which missiles Russia will arm the fighters with,” the source added.
Earlier, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) alleged Russia sent at least 14 MiG-29 and Su-24 fighters to Libya to support forces (Wagner Group mercenaries) led by warlord Khalifa Haftar. A statement by the service said Russia repainted the jets at Khmeimim base to hide its origin before flying them to Libya.
Russia has fervently denied AFRICOM’s claims.
"Russia has not sent military personnel to Libya and the Russian upper house of parliament has not received a request to approve such a dispatch,” Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the upper house's international affairs committee, was quoted as saying by Interfax on May 27.
While the Russian defense ministry said it would “not comment right now,” Andrei Krasov, a member of the defense committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, dismissed AFRICOM’s allegation as "fake" news.