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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid