Russia is taking on the role of kingmaker in Libya by giving its backing to a renegade military officer as the future leader of the North African nation, complicating UN-led efforts to build a unity government. Emboldened by its military successes in Syria, Moscow has barged into talks to end the civil war that erupted in Libya after the death of dictator Muammar Gadaffi in 2011. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes his country was duped into a UN resolution that authorised the NATO bombing campaign to topple Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s fall was all the more of a blow to the Kremlin because a year earlier it had signed a deal to establish a naval base in the eastern city of Benghazi. Jonathan Eyal, the associate director of the Royal United Services Institute, a British defence and security think tank, said the chaos in Libya represented an opportunity for Mr Putin to demonstrate that Moscow is essential to the resolution of conflicts and power struggles. “Putin has a burning desire to erase the humiliation of Libya. Syria was a launchpad for his narrative that Russia is a great power that cannot be ignored when resolving a crisis anywhere in the world,” said Dr Eyal. “He has set out to make himself indispensable and is working hard to bargain with Donald Trump on Libya and elsewhere.” Russia demanded a leading role for Field Marshal Haftar, who was “doing a lot to fight ISIS terrorists and help the government restore control of oil production”, FM Gatilov claimed.