President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday Russia will recognize Libya's National Transnational Council (NTC) as the North African state's legitimate government if it brings the war-torn country together.
"If the rebels have the power and spirit and opportunity to unite the country on a new democratic basis, then of course we will consider establishing relations with them," Medvedev told reporters after talks with North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, in eastern Siberia.
Medvedev's comments come after Col Muammar Gaddafi vowed "martyrdom or victory" in the fight against UN-mandated NATO air strikes and the rebels who seized his compound in Tripoli on Tuesday.
"For now, the situation hasn't changed," the Russian president said. "Basically, there are two governing powers in the country, and despite the rebels' success in Tripoli, Gaddafi and his loyalists retain influence and military potential."
Parts of Tripoli remain under government control.
In an audio recording broadcast on Libyan satellite television, Gaddafi said he had gone onto the capital's streets and that his retreat from his Bab al-Aziziya compound was "tactical."
"I have been out a bit in Tripoli, without being seen by people, and ... I did not feel that Tripoli was in danger," he said.