In a rare faceoff with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday he stood by Moscow's decision not to veto the UN Security Council resolution on Libya.
"Russia did not exercise [the veto power] for one reason: I do not consider this resolution to be wrong. Moreover, I believe that this resolution generally reflects our understanding of what is going on in Libya," Medvedev said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier on Monday likened the UN Security Council resolution on Libya to a medieval crusade call.
In response to Putin's comments, Medvedev said the comparison was "inadmissible."
"It is absolutely inexcusable to use expressions that in effect lead to a clash of civilizations - such as 'crusades,' and so on - that is unacceptable," Medvedev said.
Otherwise "everything could end up in far worse shape than it is now," he warned.
"It is important to remember this."
Russia abstained from a UN Security Council resolution adopted on Thursday imposing a no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
Medvedev stressed that the Russian Foreign Ministry had acted strictly in compliance with his instructions.
Under the Russian Constitution, the country's foreign policy is formulated by the president, not the prime minister.
Western-led military strikes against Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who has been ruthlessly fighting rebels in the North African country since mid-February, began on Saturday.
Libyan television has reported that at least 50 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded in the strikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed.
GORKI, March 21 (RIA Novosti)