Pipelines are seen at the industrial zone at the oil port of Brega, Libya, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
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A force of several dozen armed private security contractors from Russia operated until last month in a part of Libya that is under the control of regional leader Khalifa Haftar, the head of the firm that hired the contractors told Reuters.The presence of the military contractors was, according to the head of the firm, a commercial arrangement.Krinitsyn said his contractors were ready to strike back in case of an attack.Military and government officials in eastern Libya said they were not aware of the presence of the contractors, while Haftar did not respond to a request for comment.The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters that it had no information on the presence of the contractors in Libya and did not know Krinitsyn.Krinitsyn, the owner of the company which hired the contractors for Libya, was an officer of the Russian border guard service based in Tajikistan, on the border with Afghanistan, where he said he gained battlefield experience.Krinitsyn said some of the contractors he hired for Libya has previously worked in Syria, though not in combat roles. He declined to say how many contractors were involved in the mission in Libya, citing commercial secrecy.
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