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Venezuela’s Chavez backs Russia in Georgia conflict

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Monday, Aug 18, 2008

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday praised Russia’s military actions in Georgia, describing Moscow’s offensive as a necessary response to U.S. aggression.

Chavez, a persistent critic of the United States, said Washington was using its ally Georgia to weaken a resurgent Russia.

“The intention of the United States is to reduce Russia to its minimum expression,” said Chavez, who has used higher revenue from Venezuelan oil production to buy weapons worth billions of dollars from Russia in recent years.

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“The Russians did what they had to do, we recognize the courage of President Dmitry Medvedev, we are with Russia,” Chavez said on his weekly television show.

Chavez said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had told him by telephone that Georgian troops started the war by attacking Russian peacekeepers in breakaway South Ossetia. Russia responded by moving troops deep into Georgia proper.

Russia announced on Sunday it would start pulling out its forces on Monday, after the conflict dealt a humiliating blow to Georgia and raised fears about fuel supplies to Europe.

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This article was posted: Monday, August 18, 2008 at 2:30 am

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