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Putin Slams West for "Medieval Crusade"
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Putin Slams West for "Medieval Crusade"

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has slammed the UN resolution allowing military action on Libya as a "medieval call to crusade" and hit out at Washington for its readiness to resort to force.

In one of his most virulent diatribes against the West in years, Russia’s de facto number one said there was no "logic" or "conscience" to the military action.

"The resolution by the Security Council, of course, is defective and flawed," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as telling workers on a visit to a missile factory on Monday.

"To me, it resembles some sort of medieval call to crusade when someone would appeal to someone to go to a certain place and free someone else."

Putin’s comments marked a sharp hardening of Moscow’s rhetoric against the Western military action on Libya after Russia abstained from the UN resolution last week, refusing to use its veto, which would have blocked its passage.

The Russian prime minister also lashed out at the "steady trend" of US military intervention around the world, accusing Washington of acting without conscience.

"I am concerned about the ease with which the decision to use force was taken," Putin was quoted as saying in reference to the current international campaign in Libya.

Noting that the United States had already involved itself in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, Putin added: "Now it’s Libya’s turn.

"And all of this under the guise of protecting peaceful civilians.

"Where is the logic, where is the conscience? There is neither one nor the other," Putin was quoted as saying.

Putin also said the events in Libya showed Russia had taken the right decision in strengthening its military capabilities, in possible reference to its massive new $US650 billion ($A655.8 billion) rearmament plan.

"Today’s events in Libya prove that we are doing everything right in terms of strengthening Russia’s military capabilities," he was quoted as saying.

He also said Russia planned to double the production of strategic and tactical missile systems from 2013.

Putin’s hardline comments also sit awkwardly with the reset in US-Russia ties championed by his successor in the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev, which has seen a swift warming of relations over the last few months.

Observers have long speculated that the US favours Medvedev over Putin. Some reports even suggested US Vice-President Joe Biden wanted to warn Putin against considering a return to the Kremlin in 2012 polls, on his visit to Russia this month.

Russia had initially backed international measures against the Gaddafi regime, signing on to UN Security Council sanctions that imposed an arms embargo against Libya and other sanctions against Gaddafi’s family.

Some Russian defence officials had initially expressed concern about the sanctions, saying the UN arms export prohibition may cost the country some $US4 billion ($A4.04 billion) in current and future contacts.

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Putin: UN Libya resolution defective, reminds of Medieval call for Crusade

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