Russia imposes sanctions on arms sales to Libya
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree to join UN Security sanctions against Libya, the Kremlin said on Thursday, according to RIA Novosti.
The decree bans the supply of arms, ammunition and military equipment to the North African state, where fighting between rebels and forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi is in its third week.
Libya is a major exporter of Russian arms. Sergei Chemezov, the head of state industrial holding Russian Technologies, said last week that Russia would lose $4 billion in arms exports as a result of the sanctions.
The UN Security Council voted to impose a total arms embargo on Libya on February 26. It also froze the assets of 26 Libyans, including Gaddafi, his family and his close associates, and banned them from traveling to UN member states.
The EU is expected to expand its sanctions against the North African state within days.
NATO defense ministers will start a two-day meeting today to debate the possibility of introducing a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace. Gaddafi said on Wednesday the proposal was a "colonialist plot" by the West to steal Libyan oil.
Calls for the zone have stepped up in recent days after the army launched further air strikes on the rebel frontline in the east of the country.
Russia and Turkey, NATO`s third-largest member, oppose Western intervention in Libya.