COPENHAGEN – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sharply criticised the Western coalition attacking Libya on Tuesday, saying it had neither a right nor a mandate to kill Muammar Gadhafi.
Putin said the coalition had gone beyond the bounds of a U.N. Security Council resolution authorising intervention to protect civilians and suggested Gadhafi’s actions did not justify foreign interference, let alone attempts to remove him.
“They said they didn’t want to kill Gadhafi. Now some officials say, yes, we are trying to kill Gadhafi,” Putin said on a visit to Denmark. “Who permitted this, was there any trial? Who took on the right to execute this man, no matter who he is?”
Putin was speaking as Britain and the United States discussed stepping up military pressure on Gadhafi, who has survived more than a month of NATO air strikes.
“The country’s whole infrastructure is being destroyed, and in essence one of the warring sides is attacking under the cover of aircraft,” Putin said at a news conference after talks with his Danish counterpart Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
“When the entire so-called civilised community falls upon a small country with all its might, destroys infrastructure created over generations — I don’t know, is that good or not?” Putin said. “I don’t like it.”