UPDATE 4-Libya clouds U.S. defense chief's Russia visit

Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:12pm GMT

* Kremlin says concerned about "indiscriminate" air strikesd

* Gates says coalition seeking to avoid civilian casualties

* Putin closes ranks with Medvedev, criticises coalition

(Recasts with details, Medvedev meeting, Putin comments)

By Phil Stewart and Gleb Bryanski

MOSCOW, March 22 (Reuters) - The United States and Russia clashed over Libya on Tuesday, with Moscow advocating a ceasefire and U.S. defense chief Robert Gates saying some Russians had swallowed Muammar Gaddafi's "lies" about civilian deaths.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, after talks with Gates at his residence outside Moscow, accused coalition forces of carrying out "indiscriminate" air strikes.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin unleashed new criticism of the biggest armed intervention in the Arab world since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying those responsible for civilian deaths should "pray for the salvation of their souls".

The tough talk added to criticism from other emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil of coalition bombings meant to destroy Gaddafi's air defenses and create a no-fly zone.   Continued...

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