Putin wonders what US citizens did in zone of fighting

U.S. citizens were in the zone of fighting during the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, in defiance of international agreements, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

"I said (in late August in an interview) that, according to our information, American citizens were in the zone of combat actions. I said that they, according to our information, were in the security zone designated by earlier international agreements, but citizens of only three categories -- local residents, peacekeepers and OSCE observers -- could be in the zone of security," Putin reminded in his interview with the French Newspaper Figaro.

Moscow has received documentary confirmations that American citizens who did not belong to any of the categories were in the zone, the premier noted, adding that the deputy chief of the Russian Armed Forces' General Staff had shown a copy of the passport of one of the American citizens to press representatives.

"Of course, we would like to know what the citizen and other citizens of the United States did in this zone," Putin said.

"That the Georgian army was armed by our American partners is a "medical fact". Nobody even argue against it. That American instructors tried to train the Georgian army also is a fact against which none argues," Putin noted, adding that as far as he remembered even Georgian foreign minister, a French citizen, Zurabishvili, had already said about it publicly.

[Source: Itar Tass, Sochi, 13Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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