Russia will protect the interests of its national companies in Libya under the country’s new leadership, a Kremlin source said on Friday.
“We are not just thinking about it, but take concrete measures. The government is working on it,” the source said, adding the prospects for Russian companies to continue working in Libya “were not bad.”
Moscow had billions of dollars worth of energy and infrastructure deals with Libya under its deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi, and Russian officials have expressed concern they could be lost in the transition of power.
State monopoly Russian Railways is carrying out a project to build a high-speed 550 kilometer railway line in Libya. Russian oil companies such as Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the country’s gas giant Gazprom, and Tatneft were also working in the oil-rich nation.
Russia, which has been critical of NATO’s operation in Libya, recognized Libya’s ruling interim council, the National Transitional Council (NTC), as the country’s legitimate authority on Thursday.
Protests in Libya against Gaddafi’s four-decade rule began in February and then turned into full-scale civil war between Gaddafi’s forces and rebels, who formed the NTC and declared it the sole legitimate authority in Libya.
Russia gave Western military intervention in Libya the go-ahead by abstaining from a U.N. Security Council resolution vote in March, but has since repeatedly accused NATO forces of exceeding their mandate.