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Russia's Putin criticizes Libya mission

 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a meeting on the armament issues at the city of Votkinsk, near Izhevsk  about 1000 kilometers (625 miles)...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gestures while speaking during a meeting at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Monday, March 21, 2011. Medvedev re...
 Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, and his Slovene counterpart Borut Pahor walk through the government compound in Brdo, Slovenia, Tuesday...
 Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends the signing of bilateral documents in Brdo, Slovenia, Tuesday, March 22, 2011. Prime Minister Putin ha...

Russia Libya Diplomacy

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a meeting on the armament issues at the city of Votkinsk, near Izhevsk about 1000 kilometers (625 miles)...

Russia Libya Diplomacy

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gestures while speaking during a meeting at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Monday, March 21, 2011. Medvedev re...

Slovenia Russia

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, and his Slovene counterpart Borut Pahor walk through the government compound in Brdo, Slovenia, Tuesday...

Slovenia Russia

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends the signing of bilateral documents in Brdo, Slovenia, Tuesday, March 22, 2011. Prime Minister Putin ha...

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that anyone responsible for civilian deaths in Libya should be "praying for the salvation of their souls."
Putin said that international forces' air strikes on Moammar Gadhafi's forces in the North African nation have resulted in civilian deaths.
There are no reliable civilian death tolls from Libya. Rebels say over 1,000 people have been killed in a month of fighting, while Moammar Gadhafi claims the toll is stands at 150.
"Those involved in the tragedy should be thinking about it," Putin said in televised remarks from his meeting with his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor in Ljubljana. "Be thinking and praying for the salvation of their souls."
On Monday, Putin compared the United Nations resolution approving the military operation "a call for a crusade." Russia abstained in the vote.
Putin's hand-picked successor, President Dmitry Medvedev rebuked his mentor over the choice of wordsm saying that such expressions could lead to the "clash of civilizations."
Medvedev defended the decision to abstain in last week's vote at the United Nations, which enabled the military operations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, and characterized the resolution as a legitimate response to Moammar Gadhafi's "crimes against his own people."
"The resolution in general reflects our understanding of what's going on in Libya, but not entirely," Medvedev said. "That is why we did not use our veto right."
Putin, however, downplayed his rift with Medvedev.
"As for the unity or disunity of views of the Russian leadership on the events in Libya, in Russia the president handles foreign policy so there can be no double vision," Putin said. "If you are interested in how my and Mr. Medvedev's approaches differ, I can assure you that we are very close and understand each other."
Putin and Medvedev have on occasions appeared to take different approaches to domestic and economic policy issues. For instance, Medvedev has criticized the big state corporations championed by Putin and issued veiled criticism of Putin's statements on jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The divisions reflect a split in their main constituencies. While Putin's tough rhetoric appeals to average Russians, Medvedev's more liberal statements are designed to please the West and Russia's liberal elite.
Under Putin, the Kremlin sought to revive its Soviet-era influence in the Middle East and saw Gadhafi as one of its allies in the region.
Libya struck multi-billion dollar deals to procure Russian-made weapons. Moscow has also been eager to persuade Tripoli to back its plans for a natural gas cartel that would also involve Algeria, Iran, Qatar and the countries of Central Asia and could strengthen Moscow's energy leverage over Europe.


Updated : 2021-05-08 02:51 GMT+08:00