Russia has evacuated “all of its diplomats and their families” after an attack on its diplomatic compound in Tripoli on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.
“Moscow decided to evacuate the embassy after Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz visited its grounds and told the Russian ambassador that Libya was unable to protect the personnel,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich in a statement released Thursday.
During the assault, an armed mob breached the compound, which is considered Russian sovereign soil, after climbing the walls and breaking through the main gate. Reports say that shots were fired into the air as this was taking place. In an ensuing exchange of gunfire, the Russian flag was torn down from a balcony, one of the attackers was killed and four attackers were injured.
Russia has confirmed that the attack took place. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio said that early reports from the scene have asserted that no Russian embassy personnel were wounded.
This is in marked contrast to the assault on the U.S. Embassy compound on September 11, 2012, when an armed mob stormed the compound in Benghazi after a mortar attack, which resulted in the loss of four American lives — including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
Video posted by TV network RT appears to show a burning vehicle outside of the compound.