A military transport aircraft Il-76TD of the Ukrainian company Sky Avia Trans was hit by drones at the airport in Misrata, Libya on August 5, Ukraine ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. Officials in Kyiv blamed the attack on Russia.
Who attacked? Were there weapons on board?
The attack began shortly after the plane flew from Turkey ’s capital Ankara to Misrata Airport in Libya. Bloomberg said the attack was carried out by Russia-backed General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Russia-backed Libyan National Army, which has been waging a months-long offensive to take the capital. The LNA claimed the planes were carrying weapons.
Sky Avia Trans Director Malakhova denied the charge. She said the plane was carrying humanitarian cargo to the Red Crescent Society and has all permits.
Ukraine ’s Foreign Ministry also denied the charge.
The attacked plane was not chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, it 's representative Alexander Vlasenko said. But he added it is entirely possible that the plane was carrying cargo for the Libyan Red Crescent Society.
Vlasenko said both organizations unite only general principles of work, but legally the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are completely different organizations. It was not possible to get a comment from the Red Crescent yesterday.
Ukainian diplomats in Kyiv, meanwile, warned something could be amiss.
" Carefully. New misinformation about Ukraine, "- said the interim Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Yehor Bozhok said on his Twitter page .
Who is responsible for attacking Ukrainian aircraft?
This is not the first destroyed IL-76TD. According to Bloomberg , it is likely that two Ilyushin 76 planes with Ukrainian registration were destroyed during the attack on Jufra Airport on July 26.
Deputy Information Minister Dmitry Zolotukhin on August 6 said on Facebook that three aircraft were destroyed, but did not name the owners of two of them. At the same time, Sky Avia Trans said only their plane came under fire.
" The Kremlin is deliberately provoking armed attacks on Ukrainian aircraft, attempting to discredit Ukraine on the international stage by accusing it of arms trading." — Dmytro Zolotukhin
Information Resistance ( IR), a non-governmental group that aims to counteract external threats to the Ukraine in the main areas of military, economic and energy security, was cited by Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying the Ukraine-registered planes were specifically targeted. IR said pro-Russia bloggers were the first to report the destruction of the planes, followed by Russian media.
Linking Khalifa Haftar to Moscow
The Libyan general has repeatedly visited Moscow and negotiated with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in recent years, Deutsche Welle reports. He last arrived in the Russian capital in November 2018. At the Haftar meeting with Shoigu, businessman Evgeniy P Prigogine was present, who is linked to the private military company Wagner. In addition to Moscow, the Libyan general is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirages.
According to the British newspaper The Sun, in October last year, Russian servicemen of the General Staff of the General Staff (formerly GRU — ) arrived in Libya to support the troops of Haftar. Sources for Russia 's RBC newswire have said Russian troops are in Libya, but officials in Moscow have denied the information.