West in "mediaeval crusade" on Gaddafi, Putin says

Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:45pm GMT

By Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday a U.N. resolution authorising military action in Libya resembled "mediaeval calls for crusades" after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes.

As diplomatic tempers over the campaign flared, officials in Tripoli said a missile intended to kill Muammar Gaddafi had destroyed a building in his fortified compound, which was heavily bombed in 1986 by the Reagan administration.

"It was a barbaric bombing," said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, showing pieces of shrapnel that he said came from the missile. "This contradicts American and Western (statements) ... that it is not their target to attack this place."

There was no comment on the strike from attacking forces.

In an appearance on Libyan television on Sunday, Gaddafi promised his enemies a "long war" after the U.N.-authorised intervention in the uprising against his 41-year rule of this oil producing north African desert state.

"The resolution is defective and flawed," said Russia's Putin, whose country did not use its power to veto the resolution at the United Nations. "It allows everything. It resembles mediaeval calls for crusades," Putin added.

China's official newspapers on Monday stepped up Beijing's opposition to air attacks on Libya, accusing nations backing the strikes of breaking international rules and courting new turmoil in the Middle East. China also did not veto the U.N. resolution.

Libyan rebels welcomed the second wave of attacks.   Continued...

<p>A Libyan holding a flower mourns during the funeral of the people who were killed after air strikes by coalition forces, at the martyrs' cemetery in Tripoli March 20, 2011. Western forces pounded Libya's air defences and patrolled its skies on Sunday, but their day-old intervention hit a serious diplomatic setback as the Arab League chief condemned the "bombardment of civilians". REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (LIBYA - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS)</p>
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