Putin says ‘dumbfounded’ over NATO operation in Libya


Stockholm : Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has again criticised the ongoing NATO military operations in Libya, claiming himself being “dumb-founded” over how easy decisions were made to use force against countries.

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In reply to a dish journalist, Putin, who is currently on a visit in Stockholm, said “this happens despite human rights and humanity concerns which the civilised world is believed to advocate,” apparently referring to reports about NATO planes bombing civilian objects in Libya, RIA Novosti reported.

“Don’t you think that there is a serious controversy between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “misbalance” should be eliminated.

Russia, one of the UN Security Council’s permanent members, did not use its veto right to block a UN resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, preferring to abstain.

On Tuesday, speaking during a news conference in Copenhagen, Putin made several strong statements criticising NATO’s operation in Libya, saying that the North African state was being illegally destroyed by “so-called civilised society.”

In late March, he made international headlines by likening the UN Security Council resolution to enforce a no-fly zone in the country to a “call to a medieval crusade”.

NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero said Wednesday the alliance was not commenting on Putin’s remarks, adding that the UN resolution stipulates the use of “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians from forces loyal to Gaddafi and that NATO was implementing this mandate.

The unrest in the North African country, which began in mid-February, has already claimed thousands of lives, with Gaddafi troops maintaining their combat capabilities despite massive NATO air strikes against them.