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Putin criticizes US over Georgia conflict
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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of failing to keep Georgia from launching attacks against South Ossetia, saying the move had caused damage to bilateral ties.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with CNN in Moscow Aug. 28, 2008. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo] 

"This (inability) of course harmed our relations, first of all intergovernmental," Putin said in an interview with CNN.

Russia had expected the United States would intervene in the conflict and stop Georgia attacking South Ossetia, Putin said.

However, "the U.S. administration not only failed to restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal action, but the American side in fact trained and equipped the Georgian army," theRIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Asked about the prospect of Russia being expelled from the Group of Eight (G8), the premier said he doubted the club's operation in such fields as anti-terrorism, anti-drug, and nuclear non-proliferation will be efficient without Russia's participation.

"Well, suppose anyone wants to do it absolutely without Russia. To what extent will this work be efficient?" Putin said.

The former Russian president also said that the G8 is becoming inadequate without India and China.

In addition, Putin said 19 U.S. companies are to be excluded from the list of Russia's poultry suppliers, while 29 other companies had been warned to "improve their standards or face the same ban."

Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region bordering Russia. In retaliation, Moscow sent in troops that drove Georgian forces out of the region and took over parts of Georgian territory.

Russia declared a halt to its military offensive in Georgia on Aug. 12 after days of conflict in the region. Later, Moscow said it had fulfilled the promise made in a French-brokered peace plan to withdraw its troops from Georgia as of last Friday.

Georgian parliament calls for severing ties with Russia

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2008)

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