The Libyan regime has threatened to attack rebels with surface-to-surface missiles if they manage to take control of Tripoli, Russia’s envoy to Africa said in an interview with Russian daily Izvestia.
“The Libyan prime minister in Tripoli told me: ‘If the rebels occupy the city, we will cover it with missiles and blow it up,'” Mikhail Margelov said. “I believe that the Gaddafi regime does have such a suicidal plan.”
Margelov also expressed doubts over U.S. intelligence reports that pro-Gaddafi forces were running out of arms.
“Gaddafi has not yet used a single surface-to-surface missile, while he has more than enough of them,” the envoy said. “This raises doubts that the [Gaddafi] regime is running out of arms.”
“Theoretically,” he said, Gaddafi may be short of tank and gun munitions, “but he has quite enough missiles and explosives.”
Fierce battles between Gaddafi supporters and opponents have been raging in Libya since mid-February.
An international military operation against Gaddafi began on March 19, following a UN resolution authorizing countries “to take all necessary measures” to help protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Gaddafi forces, and was extended until late September.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent his envoy Margelov to the North African country to discuss ways out of the crisis with both Gaddafi and representatives of the rebel Transitional National Council.