Putin: U.S. incited conflict in Georgia

Aug. 28, 2008 at 2:58 PM

SOCHI, Russia, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in a CNN interview Thursday, accused U.S. leaders of inciting the war in Georgia to influence the U.S. election.

"If my guesses are confirmed, I could suspect that someone in the U.S. triggered this conflict on purpose in order to escalate the situation and create a competitive advantage for one of the U.S. presidential

candidates," he said.

Robert Wood, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department called Putin's claim "ludicrous."

"Russia is to blame for this crisis, and the world is responding to what Russia has done," he said.

Putin, interviewed in the resort of Sochi on the Black Sea, said that the United States trained and equipped the Georgian army and incited President Mikheil Saakashvili to send troops to bring the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

"U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict," Putin said. "They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader."

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