Emerging from a crisis meeting with his national security team, US President George W Bush urged Moscow to accept an EU-crafted peace plan aimed at ending the conflict in the Caucasus.
Bush told reporters that Russia’s actions wounded its world standing and endangered ties with the West: “There’s evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city. If these reports are accurate these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia. These actions would be inconsistent with assurances that we have received from Russia that their objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on August 6. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbour state and threatens a democratic government elected by the people. Such action is unacceptable in the 21st century.”
But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said US support for Georgia revealed where Washington’s true priorities lay: “The Cold War has been over for a long time, but this Cold War mentality dominates the thinking of some American diplomats. It is a pity, but we continue building up relations with all partners, and, of course, our American partners.”