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Putin Put Down on Libya

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VOTKINSK, Russia (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday likened the U.N. Security Council resolution supporting military action in Libya to medieval calls for crusades.

Putin, in the first major remarks from a Russian leader since a coalition of Western countries began air strikes in Libya, said that Muammar Gaddafi’s government fell short of democracy but added that did not justify military intervention.

“The resolution is defective and flawed,” Putin told workers at a Russian ballistic missile factory. “It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades.”

Putin said that interference in other countries’ internal affairs has become a trend in U.S. foreign policy and that the events in Libya indicated that Russia should strengthen its own defense capabilities.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent Security Council member, abstained from the vote Thursday in which the council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” to protect civilians against Gaddafi’s forces.

(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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