The United States has intelligence that the Russian mercenary group Wagner plans to supply Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia, with an air defense system, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed officials at US.
The Journal claims that Wagner plans to provide the Pantsir-S1 system, known to NATO as the SA-22, which uses anti-aircraft missiles and air defense guns to intercept aircraft.
The Wagner Group, which is funded by the Russian State and has been firmly under the control of the Kremlin since the aborted coup of its former leader,Evgeny Prigozhin, in June, did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
An unnamed US official quoted by the Journal said Washington had not confirmed the delivery of the system. However, US officials are closely monitoring talks between Wagner and Hezbollah, according to the Journal.
The Kremlin rejected this information. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Wagner “de facto” does not exist and that such accusations – as a rule – are baseless.
The Journal said the Pantsir system will be supplied to Hezbollah through Syria, where Russia supported President Bashar Assad by entering the civil war there in 2015.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard founded Hezbollah in 1982, amid the Lebanese civil war from 1975 to 1990. It was part of Iran’s effort to export its 1979 Islamic Revolution to the entire region and fight the forces of Israel after their invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
Lebanese Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with Israeli forces across the border since the start of the confrontation between Israel and Hamas.
According to The Trust Project criteria