Russia will not take part in military operation against Libya

Russian forces will not take part in a possible military operation against Libya, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said Friday.

Earlier today, the chief of the Russian General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, told journalists that such an operation is ruled out. “I can only confirm this,” Popovkin said.

The 15-nation UN Security Council on Thursday voted to declare Libya a no-fly zone to prevent longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi ordering air strikes on rebel-held cities. Five nations, including veto-wielding China, Russia and Germany, abstained from the vote.

The Council’s resolution also authorizes “all necessary measures” against forces loyal to Gaddafi, including military action.

NATO said today morning that it is ready for an international operation against Gaddafi’s forces. A NATO source told RIA Novosti that the United States, Britain, France and Canada were among the countries likely to carry out the first airstrikes.

Britain, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Qatar voiced their intention to participate in any possible operation against the Gaddafi regime. Poland said it could provide logistic support.

Libya declared on Friday an immediate ceasefire in response to a UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over the war-torn country, Al Jazeera reported.

Libya has been hit by protests demanding the resignation of strongman Gaddafi since mid-February.

MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti)

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