To be honest, I had no doubt that the report on the destruction of two Ukrainian Il-76TDs would get hypertrophied coverage in hybrid media. There had just been too many signs of pre-prepared informational sabotage. And the fact that the spin was launched through "Diana Mihailova", a Ukrainophobic blog on LivaJournal, under the auspices of GRU-affiliated curators, with some support for low-grade news outlets, did not cancel more substantial support on the part of Federal media, which came on Sunday.
Now, it's not only some micro-level blogger and "controlled" sites, but also such major media outlets as the Federal News Agency, RIA Novosti, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, and others are reporting on the incident and a certain "Ukrainian trace" in arms supplies to Libya.
But, it should be understood that all of this is in fact just about blurring the information space and distracting the public from the fact that it's the Russians who supply weapons to Mr Haftar. Besides, the Russian military, represented by private military companies, assists the general in planning and carrying out military operations. In particular, Britain's The Sun earlier wrote about this in detail, noting that several dozens of SOF troops and GRU operatives had been deployed in Libya, training Khalifa Haftar's soldiers. Also, Russia helped the country set up two military bases on the northeast coast, in the cities of Tobruk and Benghazi.
Also, just two weeks ago, Russian propaganda tried to shift attention from its direct military aid and arms supplies to Libya through "white noise" reports on Javelin ATGMs supplied from France.
Thus, the Russian propaganda and its unlimited media resources are trying to bring to the forefront a range of distracting topics, to cover up for their weapons supplies to Libya, as well as direct support for Haftar and Gadhafi’s son. After all, Russia has been getting huge profits from this confrontation, comparable to those got from Syria.
At the same time, it is worth noting that in this story is not only about a pre-prepared information spin but also about Russia's traditional habit of doing things with someone else's hands.
EUROPE AIR LLC airline, the owner of Il-76TD cargo planes destroyed in Libya, is controlled by Jaideep Mirchandani, who also owns Rayyan Air Pvt Ltd., Veteran Avia LLC, Aerospace One, SA, Agneet Sky Limited, Aeolus FZE, Aerospace Company FZE, Aircon Beibars FZE, and Aristeidis A. Pappas.
It should be noted that back on November 8, 2016, representatives of Sky One FZE Company from the United Arab Emirates, represented by Jaidip Mirchandani, Ruslan Nefyodov, Majed Alhameli, and Yuliya Bobrova, visited the International Mykolayiv Airport to sign a memorandum. That is, these people showed interest in the Ukrainian air transport potential long before hostilities in Libya intensified.
At the same time, according to the information posted on the website of the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, Jaidip Mirchandani and his family members are accused of actions that contradict the interests of U.S. national security and foreign policy. In particular, it's about attempts to use a U.S.-registered aircraft to transport Russian currency to support the Syrian government.
That is, this figure has already been spotted attempting to transport Russian "cargo" to the country where active military operations were underway, including through Russia's fault.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that in 2011, Russian national Vahram Simonyan amid raging civil war in Libya, mediated in delivering arms to Benghazi from Albania, in defiance of the UN embargo. The same Russian man, also in violation of UN embargo, supplied weapons to Somalia, precisely to Puntland, a region that declared autonomy. In both cases, the Armenian Veteran Avia carrier was used.
And now, the following long con is seen.
Russians, who are directly involved in yet another round of bloodshed in Libya, apply the classical scheme of doing their "dirty job" with someone else's hands, namely, by having air carriers registered in other countries on citizens of third countries and having weapons transported through fourth countries.
In case if any fact of arms supplies is revealed, Russia "has nothing to do" with this. It's always those who got into a spotlight who will be blamed! In the latest Libya case, it's the company registered in Ukraine is being put in the forefront, rather than its owner of Indian origin who has problems with the U.S. or the fact that the weapons are from UAE's Free Zone Establishment (FZE), where, by the way, Russian intelligence agencies (especially the GRU) have many companies registered (surely, on foreigners and locals) engaged in trading in weapons and dual-use products.
In view of all this, I'm confident that our government should focus not so much on suspending certain air carriers' certificates, as the State Aviation Service of Ukraine did on July 26 regarding cargo company Europe Air, but to vet such companies' management. After all, our hybrid enemy, as we can see, has been exploiting this kind of commercial symbiosis, in a number of areas, solving a whole range of tasks and causing serious harm – and Ukraine is among the targets.