The US State Department has expressed its concerns about recent reports that naval vessels belonging to Russia were unloading military equipment in Libya, considering that Moscow was seeking to use Libya as a base to destabilize the Sahel region.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told Al Hurra TV on Friday that the Russian move “comes five years after the deployment of Russian mercenaries who destabilized Libya and the region.”

Miller said that Moscow “did not hide its ambition to deepen its foothold in Libya and use it as a base to further destabilize the Sahel region,” noting that there are approximately 1,800 members of a Kremlin-backed force currently in Libya.

"The US will continue to respect Libyan sovereignty and the dialogue facilitated by the United Nations with the aim of unifying the country through political means only." He added.

On June 18, the Chief of Staff of the Naval Forces of Khalifa Haftar’s forces announced the arrival of two Russian warships “on a working visit” to the Tobruk naval base. He said that the aim of the arrival of the two vessels is “to confirm relations of cooperation and coordination between the Libyan and Russian navies in the field of training and maintenance, providing technical and logistical support, and exchanging experiences in the field of maritime security.”