Russia says it doesn't have special forces in Egypt: Interfax

FILE PHOTO: General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), leaves after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday it did not have special forces in Egypt after U.S., Egyptian and diplomatic sources told Reuters it appeared to have deployed such forces to an Egyptian airbase, the Interfax news agency reported.

The U.S. and diplomatic officials said any such Russian deployment might be part of a bid to support Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, who suffered a setback with an attack on March 3 by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) on oil ports controlled by his forces.

“There are no Russian special forces units in Sidi Barrani,” Interfax cited Igor Konashenkov, the defense ministry’s spokesman, as saying in a statement.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Andrew Osborn