Putin denies sending mercenaries to Libya

Putin denies sending mercenaries to Libya

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was invited to Moscow by Vladimir Putin in December during the "Normandy Format" summit in Paris.

Days after keeping talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Top Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held telephonic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We believe that Germany's initiative to hold an global conference on Libya in Berlin is timely", Putin said, according to a transcript released by the Kremlin.

Earlier this week Turkey and Russian Federation urged Libya's warring parties to declare a ceasefire on Sunday.

Multiple media reports have linked Russian mercenaries to shadowy Kremlin-backed operations in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Africa aimed at extending Russian influence, while hiding the cost of war.

Putin reiterated Moscow's denial of this, saying: 'if there are Russians there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state and do not receive money from it'.

Speaking of the ongoing civil war in Libya, the German politician said she hoped Turkish-Russian efforts to broker peace would be successful and confirmed that Berlin would be the site of upcoming ceasefire talks.

"The point of visits like today is to talk with one another, not about one another", said Merkel.

However, Merkel stressed, it would be the United Nations, and not Germany that would lead the talks.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who accompanied Merkel, said a "key reason" for the meeting was the escalating crisis in Libya, where Berlin is acting as a mediator in a conflict he has warned could become a "second Syria". On the other hand, the United States as well as Eastern European governments claim that Russian Federation will take advantage of Western Europe's reliance on their natural gas and use it to exert political influence over continent. "For us, it's not too far to fly to Moscow to discuss that with Putin".

"This kind of conference can only be the prelude for a longer process", the chancellor added.

Putin and Erdogan reached a consensus on Wednesday and urged to establish a ceasefire in Libya starting at midnight on January 12.

Turkey are sending troops to back the UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli government, and Moscow are allegedly backing general Khalifa Haftar's Libyan Armed Forces (LNA) in the east of the country.

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