Authorities deny report of Belarus` military presence in Libya

The Belarusian ministries of foreign affairs and defense have denied a media report of Belarus’ military presence in strife-torn Libya...

 

The Belarusian ministries of foreign affairs and defense have denied a media report of Belarus’ military presence in strife-torn Libya, said BelaPAN.

Libya

The Belarus version of Russia`s popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported on April 6 that there are Belarusian mercenaries among long-time Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi`s forces.

Referring to Ryhor Hramyka, a counselor at the Belarusian embassy in Tripoli, the newspaper said that 500 military advisers had been present in Libya before the unrest began. “Some of them, mostly high-ranking officers, were evacuated from Libya to Minsk on planes,” Mr. Hramyka was quoted as saying.

A source in the Belarusian defense ministry reportedly told the newspaper that Belarusian professionals mostly serve as advisers to army commanders or help operate military equipment. There are also officers of the Belarusian special-task police force among foreign mercenaries, the newspaper said.

“There are no Belarusian military experts in Libya and there cannot be any,” Andrey Savinykh, spokesman for the Belarusian foreign ministry, said in a statement issued later in the day.

“The conversation with the officer of the Belarusian embassy in Libya is purely fiction,” he said. “This so-called journalist phoned the embassy to inquire about the evacuation of Belarusian medical professionals.”

The spokesman dismissed the report as an attempt by the yellow press to profit from the gullibility of readers. “Or we are dealing with another attempt to discredit the Republic of Belarus,” Mr. Savinykh said. “Illustratively, the technology of such stunts involves the appearance of a false report in a newspaper that has a poor reputation or none whatsoever. After that, the story is disseminated by the so-called quality media, which is no longer liable for its content. It will become clear soon whether we are dealing with cheap tricks of the yellow press or a thought-out large-scale provocation.”

“There is plenty of ardor but no truth in Komsomolskaya Pravda’s story,” Mr. Savinykh added.

The press office of the defense ministry was also quick to deny the report, dismissing it as provocative and untrue. “Only one military serviceman is present in Libya. This is the Belarusian embassy’s military attache,” the press office said.