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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid