Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told national broadcast media on April 30 that NATO and Europe are planning for a ground presence in Libya.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Russian press on Saturday that they were aware of a ground campaign being prepared within NATO and some European nations.
“The information we have from our channels shows that both NATO and the EU are working on similar plans,” Lavrov saind on Russian TV. Translated from the Russian, Lavrov said that the he understands the idea is for the EU to develop plans for humanitarian convoys, and that nothing would be done with NATO on the ground unless the United Nations Security Council said a ground invasion to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was within their authority.
“If anybody wants to ask for this idea for carrying out ground campaign to the UN Security Council, then we will discuss it there and try to understand what is being planned on the ground,” Lavrov said.
A NATO campaign against Libya was launched on March 17 after a late night UN Security Council resolution condemned Gadhafi’s government and military for ordering strikes against anti-government protests.
Last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he still didn’t understand the modus operandi behind the NATO Libya operation. According to Ria Novosti newswire in Moscow, Putin said NATO went beyond the UN’s March 16th mandate when it dropped guided missiles on Gadhafi’s government offices in Tripoli.
“What kind of no-fly zone is this if they are striking palaces every night?” Putin said in Ria Novosti. “What do they need to bomb palaces for? To drive out the mice?” Putin even went as far as suggesting that Libya’s oil resources were a main object for NATO’s interest in Libya.
Libya is not a major oil exporter to the US. Russia is a larger oil and gas exporter to Europe and the US than is Libya.