Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin called on Monday for a probe into the deaths of peaceful Libyans killed by NATO air strikes during its military campaign, the Russian NTV channel reported on Tuesday.
Churkin’s statement came after the New York Times published its investigation on Sunday, claiming up to 70 people were killed in Libya during NATO’s eight-month military operation.
"We hope that the alliance will investigate this issue [casualties among peaceful Libyans]," he said, adding that the United Nations may assist with the investigation.
Speaking at the press conference at UN headquarters, the diplomat said that Moscow had demanded a detailed report from NATO about civilian casualties in Libya, but “had still not received a substantial response about what had happened there.”
Churkin said that “NATO holds a purely propagandist vision, saying there are no victims among civilians in Libya.”
The envoy also criticized the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who said last week that NATO’s campaign in Libya strictly adhered to the UN Security Council’s resolution.
Churkin however said that some countries, including Russia, believed “the resolution was grossly violated” and warned UN officials to be “more cautious in making judgments on crucial issues of UN Security Council competence.”
The international NATO-led military operation in Libya began on March 19, two days after the approval of a UN resolution on "targeted measures" to protect civilians.
The country saw almost ten months of fierce fighting before the rebel Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) established control over the country's territory.
The ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in October near his hometown of Sirte after being captured by TNC forces.