MOSCOW, May 1 (UPI) -- Russia's foreign minister expressed reservations in Moscow about expanding NATO's role in Libya to include troops on the ground.
Since the United Nations Security Council authorized a U.S.- and NATO-led no-fly zone March 17 over the rebellion-torn North African country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he has been aware NATO and the European Union have been discussing putting troops on the ground there.
The original mission was to stop Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi from using his army and air force against Libyans calling for democratic changes and an end to his 42 years in power.
But Lavrov said Russia couldn't give a blanket endorsement to having NATO troops in Libya, ostensibly to protect humanitarian road convoys, RIA Novosti reported.
"If anybody wants to ask for this mandate [on carrying out a ground campaign], go to the U.N. Security Council," he said. "We will discuss, try to understand what is planned, because the digressions from the mandate that we are watching now, are enough to learn lessons."
Half of NATO's 28 countries have aircraft and ships enforcing the no-fly zone, bombing artillery positions and enforcing an arms embargo.