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Vladimir Putin capitalises on US ambivalence | Gerard Baker: American view - Times Online

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, the man certainly has chutzpah. As his forces drove further into Georgia yesterday across the border from the province of South Ossetia, the Russian Prime Minister lashed out at the US for helping Tbilisi in the escalating war.

In a speech to Russian officials Mr Putin condemned the US for facilitating the emergency transfer home of some of Georgia's 2000 troops serving alongside Americans in Iraq.

"It is a shame that some of our partners are not helping us but, essentially, are hindering us," Mr Putin said.

For Georgians, the accusation that the US was assisting them in their struggle must have added cruel insult to mounting injury. Despite years of efforts by Mikheil Saakashvili to cement relations between his country and the distant Superpower, despite Georgia's strenuous moves to push for Nato membership, and despite the courageous efforts of Georgian forces in supporting the US invasion of Iraq, the sum total of actual American assistance to the beleaguered former Soviet state in the last few days has amounted to a few verbal protests against the Russian action.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:24:19 PM EST
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