Russia: Libya campaign causes civilian deaths

MOSCOW – There can be “no fast solution” to the NATO campaign in Libya, the Russian foreign minister said Thursday, arguing that civilians are dying on both sides of the conflict because of foreign intervention, CNN reported. NATO members trying to implement the United Nations mandate to protect civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “are now in a difficult situation,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russia state television. “Libya has been bombed for more than three months now, and we see no end of this process,” he said.

Western statements that the campaign will continue until Gadhafi no longer poses a threat to Libyans are having a high cost in human lives, he said. Russia has been sending humanitarian aid to both sides in Libya. A plane departed for the capital Tripoli on Thursday, a day after one left for the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Rebels claimed advances on Wednesday, saying they captured a town southwest of Tripoli. Also Wednesday, NATO said its air forces targeted military re-fueling equipment in the Brega area southwest of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

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