Thursday, August 28, 2008
(CNN) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.
Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate — Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush — although he presented no evidence to back it up.
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When told that many diplomats in the United States and Europe blame Russia for provoking the conflict and for invading Georgia, Putin said Russia had no choice but to invade Georgia after dozens of its peacekeepers in South Ossetia were killed. He told Chance it was to avert a human calamity.