Putin blasts Europe for following U.S. foreign policies

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned European countries against following U.S. foreign policy ahead of an EU emergency meeting on Monday on the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Russia officially recognized the Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday, saying the move was needed to protect the region following Georgia's military offensive on August 8. Western countries condemned the move as an "irresponsible decision."

"If European countries continue carrying out such policies, we will have to talk to Washington about European matters," Putin said in an interview with Germany's ARD television on Friday.

The Russian premier said that Europe backed the U.S. and supported Kosovo's declaration of independence in February, while a UN resolution on Serbia's territorial integrity was "thrown in the garbage."

Russia, Serbia's long-time ally and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, refused to recognize Kosovo's autonomy saying that it would cause a "chain reaction."

Putin justified Russia's actions in South Ossetia saying Moscow had defended the lives of its citizens, saying that if forced to choose between life and sausage, "we choose life."

The former Russian president stressed that Russia did not fear Western sanctions: "Such a country will not be in isolation," he said in an excerpts shown on state-run Russian television.

[Source: Novosti, Moscow, 30Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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