These reports are still largely unsubstantiated. Yet if true it would hardly come as a surprise.
From Russia's standpoint, the best defense is a good offense. NATO continues to move on their borders and so it is in their interest to make trouble for NATO whenever and wherever they can.
The risk is that this will be sold as Russian 'aggression' within the Western Media. But at this point as we've entered a new era of Red-Baiting Neo-McCarthyism, Putin probably figures what does he have to lose?
NATO seems dedicated to toppling secular regimes and seemingly has no problem backing Islamists. There are potential allies for Putin within Libya and this also will open doors with Egypt as Cairo watches nervously what is happening across their borders. They fear the chaos and the secular al-Sisi dictatorship doesn't want to see ISIS enter Egypt and replace the now suppressed Muslim Brotherhood.
It may very well be that General Haftar feels somewhat betrayed by the West. A Gaddafi regime defect and long a CIA asset, he is either being wooed by Moscow or by some indications has already flipped. Washington has a long record of betraying its assets and allies and perhaps he decided to move before it was too late.
Libya is the simmering story that has long been ignored. The NATO campaign destroyed its civil society in 2011 and the country has been in a state of near-chaos ever since. Overshadowed by the far more brutal Syrian Civil War, the North African nation is already bloody warzone but it could get a lot worse.
Putin's meddling is not morally defensible. And yet Western criticisms of his actions smack of the rankest hypocrisy. Sadly, this continued tit-for-tat escalation and complication only puts the world at greater risk. If war breaks out... the stage is being set for a global conflagration. Let us hope that wisdom and reason temper the hot-heads and the military figures who always eager to start shooting.