DEAUVILLE, France – France says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must leave power now and Britain calls him an appalling dictator, but Russia says NATO has gone too far in its bombing campaign against Gadhafi’s forces.

Escalating violence in Libya worried a gathering of rich world leaders as much or more than their own debts and joblessness, but they could not agree Thursday on how to punish Libya’s leader or restore peace, highlighting the difficulty in making sure Arab uprisings have peaceful endings.

In a possible bid to soften Russian resistance to the NATO-led airstrikes, leaders of the Group of Eight nations asked Moscow to act as a “mediator” with Libya, according to President Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman. Natalya Timakova did not elaborate on what kind of role that could be.

President Barack Obama “is leading that initiative to work with the Russians” on Libya, said Michael McFaul, Russia adviser at the National Security Council. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters, “Russia has relations, not just in Libya but across most of North Africa. … We can benefit from those types of consultations and contacts with them.”

Medvedev met with Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Normandy resort of Deauville in a G-8 summit dominated by talk of upheaval in the Arab world. That overshadowed concerns about deficits and joblessness in the Group of Eight nations: the United States, France, Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada.

At talks today, G-8 leaders plan to marshal their combined economic might behind the grass-roots democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia, which overthrew autocrats but also scared off tourists and investors and threaten economic growth.

U.S. and other officials say it’s too soon to reach a deal on dollar amounts for assistance to the Arab world.

But France offered Egypt up to $250 million a year in development aid, the prime minister said Thursday. And Britain pledged to expand its aid to the Middle East and North Africa to 110 million pounds, in an apparent effort to pressure G-8 partners into contributing money, too.

“We’re demonstrating that there is a chance for people in North Africa to choose their own future and their own freedom rather than have to put up with appalling dictators like Gadhafi,” Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters.