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21 August 2017
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US rejects 'false' Russia claim

White House said Putin sounds not rational

The US has dismissed as "patently false" accusations by Russia that it helped provoke the conflict in Georgia for domestic political reasons, according to BBC.

The White House said Russia would face consequences for its continuing military presence in Georgia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told CNN that US citizens had been in the conflict zone of South Ossetia.

He said his defence officials had told him the provocation was to benefit one of the US presidential candidates.

Georgia tried to retake the Russian-backed separatist region of South Ossetia this month by force after a series of clashes.

Russian forces subsequently launched a counter-attack and the conflict ended with the ejection of Georgian troops from both South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, and an EU-brokered ceasefire.

Diplomatic wrangling

Mr Putin said in the US television network interview: "The fact is that US citizens were indeed in the area in conflict during the hostilities.

"It should be admitted that they would do so only following direct orders from their leaders."

Mr Putin added: "The American side in effect armed and trained the Georgian army.

"Why... seek a difficult compromise solution in the peacekeeping process? It is easier to arm one of the sides and provoke it into killing another side. And the job is done.

"The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president," he said.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino rejected the allegation.

"To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate - it sounds not rational," she said.

"Those claims first and foremost are patently false, but it also sounds like his defence officials who said they believed this to be true are giving him really bad advice."

Diplomatic wrangling over Russia`s actions in Georgia continued on Thursday with the Georgian parliament urging its government to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow.

Earlier, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested some EU countries were considering sanctions against Russia.

Mr Kouchner insisted France had made no proposals for sanctions itself but, as current president of the EU, would aim to get consensus among all 27 countries of the bloc if sanctions were envisaged.

France has called an emergency EU summit on Monday to reassess relations with Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described talk of sanctions as the working of "a sick imagination".

Such talk was an emotional response that demonstrated Western confusion over the situation, he said.

The US has said it is now considering scrapping a US-Russia civilian nuclear co-operation pact in response to the conflict.

The White House has also announced that up to $5.75m (£3.1m) will be freed to help Georgia meet "unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs".

`Specious`

Late on Thursday, the UN held an open meeting to discuss the situation in Georgia but it descended into an angry exchange.

Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, launched a scathing attack on some council members.

He questioned their criticism of the use of force, asking the US representative: "Did you find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?"

He compared council members` defence of the territorial integrity of states with what he said was a failure to do so for Serbia over Kosovo.

US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said such "specious comparisons cannot detract from the facts before us".

He said Russia had invaded Georgia and was "dismembering" Georgia.

Irakli Alasania, Georgia`s ambassador to the UN, said Russia`s actions were "all pre-planned".

He called for swift humanitarian aid and a UN presence in upper Abkhazia.

Requests for representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to participate in the formal council meeting were rejected.

BBC
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