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US Rejects Putin's Charges that Bush Administration Orchestrated Georgian Crisis


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the Georgian crisis to benefit one of the presidential candidates, a claim the White House calls "patently false."

In an interview with the television network CNN, Mr. Putin said Russian defense officials told him the United States encouraged Georgia to attack the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The Russian prime minister did not identify which presidential candidate he was referring to, and he offered no proof of his accusation.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, called Mr. Putin's claim "just not rational." She said Russian defense officials are giving Mr. Putin bad advice.

The spokeswoman noted wide support for maintaining Georgia's territorial integrity, and she said President Bush is concerned that Russia is still not in full compliance with the French-mediated cease-fire in Georgia.

In Tbilisi, Georgian lawmakers unanimously backed a non-binding resolution calling on the government to break diplomatic ties with Russia and declare Georgia's two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, areas under Russian occupation.

Earlier, Russia's Asian allies expressed concern about the Georgian crisis and called for dialogue. But leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, meeting in the Tajikistan capital, did not express full support for Russian actions in South Ossetia. They stressed the importance of territorial integrity.

Their decision followed a personal appeal from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who outlined his country's position on the crisis. The Russian leader called the conflict probably the most dramatic episode of recent times, and he accused the Western news media of incorrectly portraying the actual aggressor.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization brings together China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Georgian troops went into South Ossetia on August seventh to try to retake control of the breakaway region. Russia replied with tanks and thousands of troops, saying it had to protect Russian citizens there.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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