The UN Security Council’s sixth emergency session on Georgia passed no resolution – due to Russia’s veto powers – but was characterised by Cold War-style exchanges of insults between Moscow and Washington’s ambassadors.
The White House has dismissed as “patently false” Russian accusations that the United States helped provoke the Georgia conflict for domestic political reasons. Spokeswoman Dana Perino said that did not sound rational.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had accused the US of orchestrating events in Georgia, and linked the row to Russia’s cooperation with the West on issues like trade and nuclear non-proliferation. Moscow also rejected a condemnatory statement by the Group of Seven rich nations as “biased.”
European Union leaders are due to meet on Monday to formulate a response. Some eastern European EU members have been pushing for sanctions against Russia, but France which holds the EU presidency says there are no such plans, for the moment. Any sanctions could lead Moscow to retaliate by cutting oil and gas supplies to Europe.
In Tbilisi, the Georgian government said it will sever diplomatic relations with Russia over Moscow’s decision to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s independence.