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Russia accuses NATO of backing a "criminal regime"

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Russia accuses NATO of backing a "criminal regime"


Western governments urged the United Nations to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate Russian military withdrawal from Georgia but veto-holding Russia said it could not support it.

The council meeting ended with no attempt to put the text to a vote; to do so would have forced Russia to play the veto card.

On a day of hectic diplomatic activity, Russia came under some heavy verbal fire from NATO following an emergency meeting to discuss the conflict in Georgia.

Under pressure from the US, NATO agreed to suspend regular contacts with Russia until the Kremlin has withdrawn its troops from Georgia in line with a French-brokered peace deal.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “The United States does not seek to isolate Russia. The behaviour of Russia in this most recent crisis is isolating Russia from the principles of cooperation among nations of the communities of states, when you start invading small neighbours.”

Russia responded with defiance, with this comment from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “It seems like NATO is trying to make a victim of an aggressor and paint white a criminal regime. They are trying to save a collapsing government and want to rearm the current leaders of Georgia.”

NATO stopped short of accelerating Georgia’s entry into NATO, an aim which angered Russia even before the two-week-old conflict over Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia.

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