On 24 July, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said it had mounting evidence from satellite photos of military cargo planes, including IL-6s, being sent from Russia to forces from the Private Military Contractor (PMC) Wagner Group in Libya, including in the city of Sirte. AFRICOM’s Deputy Director of Intelligence, Army Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, said that ‘Russian air defence equipment…demonstrate an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities’.
On 28 July, the Acting UN Envoy to Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, announced the finalization of the process to initiate an international audit of the two branches of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). The statement said that the selection panel voted unanimously to award the contract to Deloitte. UNSMIL said this international financial review process is a ‘critical step towards enhancing transparency in the Libyan financial system and creating the conditions for the eventual unification of the CBL.’ It concluded by calling for the immediate lifting of the Libyan National Army (LNA) enforced oil blockade based on the terms recently put forward in the international negotiations led by the UN, the US, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and others.
Both the Government of National Accord (GNA) and LNA forces continued to build up forces around Sirte last week. The LNA announced that it had upgraded its air force and prepared its ground troops to confront a potential Turkish attack on its positions in Sirte, while a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) conducted a sortie over the LNA-controlled areas of Sirte.