Bush Criticizes Russia/Georgia Conflict

August 11, 2008 10:30:10 AM PDT
While overseas, President Bush addressed the growing crisis over Russia's military operation in Georgia. He sharply criticized Moscow's crackdown in the former Soviet Republic, saying the violence is unacceptable. As the Georgian military continues to shell the capital of south Ossetia, several dozen Russian bombers have attacked Georgia. At the Olympics in Beijing, President Bush could be seen having an animated discussion with Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin which he later discussed with NBC's Bob Costas.

"I said this violence is unacceptable and my administration has been engaged with both sides in this, trying to get a cease-fire and, look, I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of south Ossetia," said Bush.

But the president's concerns apparently fell on deaf ears. Georgia's president has pleaded for help from the international community. Mikheil Saakashvili said "We have the smallest army in the region, and Russia has one of the biggest armies in the world. So how can you compete?"

Reportedly, there are 10,000 Russian troops in and around Georgia and 30,000 refugees have fled from south Ossetia.

Georgia was once part of the former Soviet Union. After the soviet collapse, it developed into an independent, pro-western democracy, but Georgia itself is not unified. The pro-Russian region of south Ossetia, where the fighting started, wants to breakaway. On Friday, Georgia moved in to quell that uprising. Russia followed with what the U.S. calls "a disproportionate response."

Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Jeffery calls Russia's escalation of the conflict "alarming." Adding that continued Russian actions will have a "significant long term effect on U.S.-Russian relations.



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