08/29/2008, 00.00
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Russia isolated; Putin accuses U.S. of preparing conflict in Georgia

In an interview with CNN, the Russian leader lashes out against the "electoral advantage" in the United States allegedly at the basis of an intervention in Georgia. The effort to gain support for the independence of the separatist regions from China and the republics of central Asia has failed. Tensions mount with the United States and the European Union.

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of fabricating the conflict in Georgia for electoral purposes. Meanwhile, the countries of central Asia and China have very politely declined to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

In an interview last night with CNN, Putin affirmed that "U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict during the hostilities". He suspects that "someone in the U.S. specially created this conflict” to “create an advantage” for one of the candidates in the presidential election.

The White House spokesperson replied with a blunt denial, branding the Russian leader's statements as "patently false". It must be said that at least 130 U.S. military advisers are present in Georgia, training the Georgian army for operations in Iraq.

Meanwhile, hopes have faded for support for the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the part of four republics of central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan) and China, meeting in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In a statement on the situation in Georgia are made public yesterday, they denounce the use of force [editor's note: on the part of Georgia?], while affirming the importance of respecting each nation's territorial integrity. Russian president Medvedev had asked the members of the SCO to join Russia in supporting the independence of the two separatist regions, but received support only for his "active role in promoting peace".

Signs of tension are increasing: for the first time, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has mentioned the possibility of "sanctions" against Russia; the United States is considering scrapping a joint project with Russia for scientific research on civilian uses for nuclear technology. On Russia's part, an intercontinental missile was tested yesterday, the Topol RS-12M, which could throw the American anti-missile shield into crisis.

There is also growing tension in the Black Sea, where, according to Moscow, NATO military ships have moved in.

The White House has also released 5.75 million dollars in aid to Georgia, for refugee problems following the war with Russia. The Georgian parliament is demanding that diplomatic relations with Moscow be cut off, and is calling for an international investigation of the inhumane actions carried out by the Russians before and during the war.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, one of Russia's staunch allies, has stated that Moscow "had no other choice" but to recognize the two separatist republics. Maybe Minks will do the same.

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