Change: Russia now offering to broker deal for Qaddafi to leave

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, in particular, has been scathing about Western intervention, at one point saying “the so-called civilized community, with all its might, pounces on a small country, and ruins infrastructure that has been built over generations.”

The offer articulated on Friday would remove Russia from the sidelines and cast it as a central participant in efforts to negotiate Mr. Qaddafi’s exit. Mikhail V. Margelov, Russia’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, stressed Russia’s preference for a political, rather than military, solution.

Russia, he said, “is not bombarding Libya, it did not evacuate its embassy, and so it could act as an honest mediator,” Mr. Margelov said, in comments carried by Reuters. He said Moscow will not engage Qaddafi himself, but members of his cabinet, or possibly his sons. Asked for specific names, he was evasive.

“Can you imagine, if I give you this person’s name, and his head were to be cut off the next day?” Mr. Margelov said. “But yes, we do have people in Qaddafi’s camp.”