MOSCOW, Russia - August 11, 2008 - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused Washington of undermining Russia’s attempts to restore peace in the South Ossetian conflict zone. Putin said a decision by the U.S. military to fly 800 Georgian soldiers from Iraq to Georgia showed America was ‘trying to get in the way’.
In a stinging attack on the U.S., Putin told government ministers, "It's a pity that some of our partners, instead of helping, are trying to get in the way”.
He said the U.S. was using “its military transport aircraft to relocate Georgia's military contingent from Iraq virtually into the conflict zone”.
He also voiced his frustration at the inability of Russia's western partners to adequately assess the situation in South Ossetia.
“I’m amazed by their skills at seeing black as white, of portraying aggressors as victims and of blaming the real victims for the consequences of the conflict.
Putin also accused the West of double standards when it comes to judging war crimes.
“As we all know, Saddam Hussein was hanged for burning down several Shiite villages. But now suddenly the situation is different. The Georgian leaders who in a matter of hours wiped out ten Ossetian villages, who ran over children and the elderly with tanks, who burned civilians alive, those people have to be protected,” he said.
Meanwhile, American Joe Mestas, who witnessed days of shelling, has said U.S. and Georgian leaders are responsible for the violence that has killed 2,000 people in the region. He told Russia Today that Washington will have to answer for the violence.
“I thought that since the U.S. is supporting Georgia there would be some control over the situation in South Ossetia and that there would be a peaceful solution to the conflict. But what is happening there now it’s not just war, but war crimes. George Bush and [Georgian president] Mikhail Saakashvili should answer for the crimes that are being committed - the killing of innocent people, running over by tanks of children and women, throwing grenades into cellars where people are hiding,” said Mestas.
“War is when military fight against military. But the Georgian army is killing innocent civilians. This is genocide,” he added.