Russia: EU, NATO ready to start ground operation
A NATO airstrike Wednesday on the seaside town of Misrata killed 11 rebel fighters and wounded two others, witnesses told a reporter, who saw the bodies, CNN reports. NATO spokesman Eric Povel said he knew nothing about the report and would likely not learn more for several hours. The incident occurred on a day in which pro-government forces launched the heaviest shelling yet on the port of Misrata, much of which appeared to be a wasteland, rebels said. Meanwhile, the United States is not yet ready to recognize Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC) but believes it is “worthy of support,” U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz said Wednesday. On Thursday, Russia’s envoy to NATO said that the European Union is ready to send up to 1,500 soldiers to conduct a ground operation in Libya, albeit this will be called support of the humanitarian mission, Russia Today informs. Dmitry Rogozin said that the European Union had prepared an operation to enforce the security of the humanitarian mission and at present there were only some logistical details to be fixed. Rogozin said that the EU will send about 1,500 people divided into tactical groups and according to his information these will be soldiers from Germany and the Netherlands. The EU Council made the decision to start preparations for the humanitarian operation on April 1, but in order to turn the operation into the practical phase the union needs a request from the United Nations which has not yet been received. NATO is sending a civilian representative to the city of Benghazi to establish ties with the Libyan opposition forces.