Putin: Russians fighting in Libya do not represent the state

Putin: Russians fighting in Libya do not represent the state”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today had a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Even if there are any Russian citizens there, they don't represent the interests of the Russian government", Putin told reporters in Moscow on Saturday in his first comments on the matter.

The contractors are recruited by a private military group known as Wagner Group whose members are mostly ex-service personnel.

Putin and Merkel also backed a Libya peace conference in Berlin being organised by United Nations special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, which could be held in the coming weeks.

Confrontation between Washington and Tehran over the USA killing of a top general and turmoil in Libya are set to dominate talks in Moscow on Saturday between the leaders of Russian Federation and Germany.

Merkel and Putin shook hands at the start of the meeting which the German leader said would cover topics including turmoil in Libya and the Syria conflict as well as Ukraine's war with pro-Russian separatists.

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"The point of visits like today is to talk with one another, not about one another", said Merkel. Putin thanked the chancellor for visiting and said they would focus on "the hottest" topics.

The weekend meeting capped a particularly fraught week in the Middle East, and both leaders listed areas of possible agreement in addressing the region's crises during a news conference following the meeting.

Putin in December held talks with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris in the "Normandy format" hosted by German and French leaders.

Germany and Russian Federation said ahead of the talks that they would cover the confrontation between Washington and Tehran over the USA killing of a top Iranian general and turmoil in Libya.

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.

'We think Germany's initiative to host an global conference on Libya in Berlin is timely, ' he said. Haftar has thus far rejected the calls for a ceasefire.

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