Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) gestures as he speaks during a press conference with his Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Copenhagen on April 26.
Source: Press TV
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has criticized NATO over its military intervention in Libya, saying the West has violated the UN mandate by trying to kill Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
"They said they didn't want to kill Gaddafi. Now some officials say, yes, we are trying to kill Gaddafi. Who permitted this, was there any trial? Who took on the right to execute this man, no matter who he is?" Reuters quoted Putin as saying on Tuesday.
Putin's remarks come a day after NATO warplanes targeted a building inside Gaddafi's compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
After talks with his Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Copenhagen, the Russian premier said the so-called civilized societies have ganged up against Libya.
He seemed to be tacitly inferring that the West is attempting to gain control of the North African country's vast reserves of oil.
Since the outset of airstrikes against Libya, Russia has repeatedly criticized the West, saying UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians, is “a call for a crusade” and has backfired by causing civilian casualties.
“Surely people are being killed in these strikes -- Gaddafi is not there, he slipped away long ago, but peaceful civilians are dying,” Putin said.
Russia abstained in the UN Security Council vote which mandated a no-fly zone over Libya.
Meanwhile, in a move that will certainly not go down well at the Kremlin, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently said Italy will expand its role in Libya by allowing its air force to bomb selected military targets.
And on Tuesday, the US and British defense secretaries met at the Pentagon to discuss ways to step up military pressure on the Gaddafi regime, the US Defense Department said