Yahoo! News Putin says suspects U.S. provoked Georgia crisis
1 hour, 56 minutes ago
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he suspected someone in the United States provoked the conflict in Georgia in an attempt to help a candidate in the U.S. presidential election.
"It is not just that the American side could not restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal act. The American side in effect armed and trained the Georgian army," Putin said in an interview with CNN, part of which was broadcast on Russian state television.
"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 U.S. president."
The crisis flared earlier this month when Georgia tried to retake by force its separatist province of South Ossetia and Russia launched an overwhelming counter-attack.
Russian forces swept the Georgian army out of the rebel region and are still occupying some areas of Georgia proper. On Tuesday, Moscow announced it was recognizing South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
The United States and Europe demand Russia respect a French-brokered ceasefire and withdraw all its troops from Georgia, including a disputed buffer zone imposed by Moscow.
(Editing by Dominic Evans)
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