Russia denies US influence in its ceasefire decision

August 13th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, Aug 13 (RIA Novosti) Russia Wednesday rejected reports that its decision to end military operations in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia was a result of pressure by the US. Russia ended its operation in South Ossetia after fulfilling the tasks of punishing the aggressors and not at the request of the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

“The operation was halted not because President [George] Bush had made a request, but because the goals set by the Russian president had been attained,” said Lavrov.

Medvedev’s announcement Tuesday of a ceasefire came after French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), held talks with the Russian leader in Moscow.

France Monday put forward a six-phase plan aimed at ending fighting and stabilising the region. Russia and Georgia have been at war since Friday following Georgian troops’ attack on its breakaway province South Ossetia, prompting Russian troops launch a massive military offensive.

Lavrov also accused Georgia of committing acts of genocide in South Ossetia through the Aug 8 aggression that killed more than 1,600 people, mainly Russian citizens.

The aggression could not be left unpunished, he said justifying his country’s attack on Georgia.

The minister also rejected the remarks that Russia lost its peacekeeping credibility by carrying out excessive military operation against Georgia.

“This (peacekeeping) role cannot be doubted, it has been and will be played scrupulously,” Lavrov said rebuffing the recent accusations of aggression from Matthew Bryza, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“He seems to be still worrying that the principles coordinated with the French president contain nothing of the kind. Instead, Russia’s role as a peacekeeper is affirmed there,” the foreign minister said.

However, Lavrov said most foreign diplomats in Moscow had formed unbiased opinions of the developments in South Ossetia.

“On the whole, the world has the correct perception of what is going on,” the diplomat said. “Ambassadors working in Moscow mostly provide their countries with unbiased reports about the developments.”

The pro-Western leaders of Poland and the post-Soviet countries of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia appeared alongside Georgia’s president at a mass rally in central Tbilisi Tuesday to show a united front against Russia.
RIA Novosti

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