GORKI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday using the term crusades to refer to the situation in Libya was "unacceptable," appearing to publicly criticize the country's paramount leader Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev spoke just hours after Putin likened the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya to "medieval calls for crusades."
"In no way is it acceptable to use expressions that in essence lead to a clash of civilizations, such as crusades and so forth -- this is unacceptable," Medvedev told reporters at his residence outside of Moscow.
"Otherwise everything may end up far worse," he added.
Russia abstained in the U.N. Security Council vote on the resolution on Thursday. Putin said earlier on Monday that the resolution was "defective and flawed, and added: "It resembles medieval calls for crusades."
After eight years as president, Putin faced a constitutional bar on a third consecutive term in 2008, and steered junior partner Medvedev into the Kremlin.
The pair say they run the country as a tandem.
Putin, seen as Russia's key decision-maker, has hinted he will either seek to return to the presidency in a March 2012 vote or endorse Medvedev for a new term.
Medvedev also said Russia would not participate in any military coalition in Libya but was ready to take part in peacekeeping operations.
(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman)