The Tripoli-based government said that the two Russians arrested on charges of spying earlier this year are believed to be a part of the Wagner Group, a private Russian military contractor known to be operating in Libya's conflict.
The information was related on a visit by GNA interior minister, Fathi Bashagha, to |Washington last week. He updated that the Russian nationals were suspected of trying to influence municipal elections as well as gather intelligence on GNA military efforts, in favour of Haftar's LNA. Bashagha noted the men had confessed to these charges. The Russian individuals had, reportedly, also met with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who is wanted for war crimes charges by the ICC.
The Washington Post reports that the spying operation and arrests come at a time of growing concerns about Russia's increased involvement in Libya's internal conflict. Russia has denied any knowledge of Russian mercenaries operating in Libya.