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Russian Officials Sharply Criticize Western Institutions over Georgia Crisis

Russian officials have sharply criticized NATO and other Western institutions for their positions on the Georgian crisis.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko, Friday accused the alliance of having in recent years "repeatedly and demonstratively" ignored both the United Nations and international law. He said NATO has no moral right to criticize Russian policies.

On Wednesday, the alliance criticized Russia's decision to recognize the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It urged Moscow to reverse the action.

Russian diplomats also have accused the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations of being "biased" in condemning the Moscow decision. The Russians accuse the G7 of justifying "Georgian acts of aggression." G7 ministers said the Russian decision calls into question Moscow's "commitment to peace and security in the Caucasus."

In Tbilisi Friday, Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze told reporters his country will cut diplomatic ties with Moscow.

On Thursday, the United States rejected allegations from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the U.S. orchestrated the crisis in Georgia.

In an interview, Mr. Putin suggested the United States encouraged Georgia to attack the breakaway region of South Ossetia to benefit one of the U.S. presidential candidates.

French diplomats say Monday's European Union summit is not likely to impose sanctions on Russia in response to the Georgian crisis. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner raised the sanctions issue Thursday.

Georgian troops went into South Ossetia August 7 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.