Alwaght- The US military claimed that an American drone reported lost near Libya’s capital last month was shot down by Russian air defenses, demanding the return of the aircraft’s wreckage.
US Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads Africa command, said he believed the operators of the air defenses at the time “didn’t know it was a US remotely piloted aircraft when they fired on it,” Reuters reported.
“But they certainly know who it belongs to now and they are refusing to return it. They say they don’t know where it is but I am not buying it,” Townsend told Reuters in a statement, without elaborating.
The US assessment, which has not been previously disclosed, concludes that either Russian private military contractors or Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army were operating the air defenses at the time the drone was reported lost on Nov. 21, said Africa Command spokesman Air Force Colonel Christopher Karns.
Karns said the US believed the air defense operators fired on the US aircraft after “mistaking it for an opposition” drone.
Russian authorities deny using military contractors in any foreign military theater and say any Russian civilians who may be fighting abroad are volunteers. The LNA denies it has foreign backing.