News / Europe

Putin, Medvedev Engage in Rare Public Split Over Libya

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to the media at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, March 21, 2011
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to the media at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, March 21, 2011
James Brooke

In a rare split between Russia’s two top leaders, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calls Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comments on Libya "unacceptable”  Russia’s ruling duo is like the national symbol, the two-headed eagle.  President Medvedev looks west.  His political mentor, Prime Minister Putin, looks east.  For the last three years, the two have managed to hide their differences and run the country together.

But now public tensions are emerging - over Libya.

Mr. Putin, visiting a military armaments factory, denounced the United Nations resolution allowing military action in Libya as "a medieval call to crusade."

The nations sending war planes on bombing missions to Libya include Britain, France and Italy.  During the Middle Ages, British, French and Italian knights joined Christian crusades against Islamic rulers in the eastern Mediterranean.

In response, President Medvedev donned a leather bomber jacket, and gave a press conference in a pine forest to rebut such loaded language.

He said, "Under no circumstances it is acceptable to use expressions which essentially lead to a clash of civilizations, such as ‘crusade’ and so on."

He defended his government’s decision to abstain on the U.N. resolution - a measure he said was only partly flawed.  In fact, he said, "I do not believe this resolution to be wrong."

A few hours earlier, Mr. Putin had called the resolution "defective and flawed."

Fyodor Lyukanov, editor of Russian in Global Affairs magazine, said it sounded as if Mr. Putin found Russia’s failure to veto the resolution offensive. "It looks like Putin felt obliged to publicly differentiate his position from Medvedev’s, because Medvedev’s decision to abstain in the Security Council was probably not what Putin would like to see as [a] Russian vote," he said.

Mr. Putin, on a tour of a ballistic missile assembly line in central Russia, delved even further into foreign policy.  "This U.S. policy is becoming a stable trend," he said.

Citing American air strikes on Belgrade and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, "Now it is Libya’s turn under the pretext of protecting civilians.  Where is the logic and the conscience?  There is neither."

Back in Moscow, Mr. Medvedev stressed to his pool of reporters that Western military action in Libya is "the result of the appalling behavior of the Libyan leadership and the crimes it committed against its own people."

One year from now, Russians are to vote for president.  Today, political watchers are scrutinizing the tandem for cracks that might point to the next official candidate.

The Obama administration is making little secret of its preference for Mr. Medvedev.  When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Moscow two weeks ago, he showered praise on Russia’s president, and quoted him approvingly seven times in his major address here.

On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to meet in Moscow with President Medvedev and other high officials.  His schedule does not list a meeting with Prime Minister Putin.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid