Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to a media question on the mention of PMC Wagner in the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on Libya
Question: The first report of the Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, submitted on October 7 at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, alleges that Wagner Group PMC, allegedly related to the Russian Federation, was engaged in hostilities in Tripoli and its surrounds and in southern Libya in support of the Libya National Army led by Khalifa Haftar, and that Wagner personnel was involved in killing civilians and persons not taking a direct part in hostilities. They are charged with violating international humanitarian law and committing war crimes. Would you comment on this information?
Maria Zakharova: The information presented in this document requires careful study. However, even a preliminary analysis raises a number of questions about its content, especially related to the observance of the principles of objectivity and neutrality. Most of the findings are based on ‘interviews’ with unnamed victims and open-source information of dubious credibility, including an overtly propagandistic report by the British television company BBC that spread false information about alleged war crimes committed by Russian citizens in Libya. There is no convincing evidence of the involvement of Russians in the crimes in question. Once again, they want their audience to take their word for it.
We have already noted and can again confirm that there are no Russian military members in Libya. It is regrettable that the investigators who wrote the report have, knowingly or unknowingly, followed the lead of those forces that are trying to create a false impression that Moscow has participated in the intra-Libyan armed confrontation, openly taking the side of one of the parties to the conflict, thereby discrediting Russia’s policy in Libya. At the same time, they failed to note that the reasons for the current difficult humanitarian situation in Libya is the destruction of Libyan statehood by NATO countries in 2011, when the alliance committed aggression against a sovereign UN member state to overthrow the Gaddafi regime.