US fears Wagner mercenaries are preparing to bolster Hezbollah's air defenses in Lebanon as Middle East tensions reach boiling point after America conducted airstrike on Iraq

Trending 2 weeks ago
  • White House raised Wagner-Hezbollah ties successful information briefing
  • Security spokesperson John Kirby said Wagner was providing aerial defenses
  • President Biden has warned astir extracurricular efforts to utilization Israel-Hamas war 

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For

Published: 17:50 EST, 21 November 2023 | Updated: 17:56 EST, 21 November 2023

The White House connected Tuesday called retired increasing subject ties betwixt Russia and Iran, and said nan Kremlin-backed mercenary Wagner group was preparing to supply aerial defense support to Tehran-backed Hezbollah forces.

White House nationalist information spokesperson John Kirby released nan accusation Tuesday, pursuing repeated warnings by President Biden and apical U.S. officials for different actors to debar exploiting Israel's warfare connected Hamas successful Gaza.

Israel is hoping to debar an expanded beforehand successful Lebanon while it continues its effort to its efforts successful Gaza. At nan aforesaid time, U.S. forces successful nan region person reported experiencing dozens of attacks from Iranian-backed proxies.

'Our accusation further indicates that Wagner, astatine nan guidance of nan Russian government, was preparing to supply an aerial defense capacity to either Hezbollah aliases Iran,' Kirby told reporters Tuesday. 

He said nan U.S. would 'closely show for whether Wagner provides subject instrumentality to either Hezbollah aliases Iran. We're surely prepared to usage our counterterrorism sanctions authorities against Russian individuals aliases entities that mightiness make these destabilizing transfers,' he said.

CNN antecedently reported that Wagner Group, formerly tally by nan precocious Putin ally-turned rival Yevgeny Prigozhin, had been told to present SA-22 rocket defense systems from Syria to Hezbollah forces wrong Lebanon. 

The Tehran-backed group has a robust subject beingness and tens of thousands of missiles. 

Kirby besides ran done Iran's subject ties pinch nan Kremlin, including a woody to acquisition SU-35 combatant jets from Russia, on pinch efforts to acquisition onslaught helicopters, radars and different materiel.

National information spokesperson John Kirby made nan accusations during a White House property call

The White House said Russian Wagner Group mercenaries were prepared to thief Hezbollah aliases Iran

Wagner forces person been among nan much effective forces successful Russia's Ukraine war

Earlier this year, Iran announced that it finalized nan woody to bargain su 35 combatant jets from Russia. Iran is seeking to acquisition further subject instrumentality from Russia including onslaught helicopters, radars, and combat trainer aircraft. In total, Iran is seeking billions of dollars worthy of subject instrumentality from Russia to fortify its subject capabilities. 

Meanwhile, Russia 'has besides been helping Iran create and support its outer postulation capabilities and different abstraction based programs,' he said.

He leveled nan threat of sanctions astatine nan already heavy sanctioned Russian government. Tehran, too, is among nan world's astir sanctioned regimes.

'We're surely prepared to usage our counterterrorism sanctions authorities against Russian individuals aliases entities that mightiness make these destabilizing transfers,' Kirby said.