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Russia orders ceasefire in Georgia, slams US
Vinay Shukla
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August 12, 2008 16:50 IST

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday ordered a halt to military action in Georgia after five days of massive air and land attacks, saying that the mission to 'force peace' in the region has been accomplished.

"The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been restored," Medvedev said, adding, "The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. It's military has been disorganised."

At his televised meeting with the Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Chief of General Staff General Makarov, the Russian President, however, said he ordered the military to defend itself and quell any signs of Georgian resistance.

"If there are any emerging hotbeds of resistance or any aggressive actions, you should take steps to destroy them," he said.

Medvedev had ordered Operation Peace Enforcement on August 8 after the Georgian government troops launched a massive offensive to retake breakaway province of South Ossetia, most of the population of which are Russian citizens.

The announcement comes hours before the French President Nicholas Sarkozy is due to arrive in Moscow [Images] with a joint European Union and Organisation of Security and Cooperation peace plan.

Russia [Images] virtually ruled out the joint plan proposed by the EU and OSCE on Tuesday, and blamed the United States for inciting President Saakashvili's regime for attacking South Ossetia.

"We do not trust Saakashvili, because he has not repented for the war crimes committed by him against our citizens in South Ossetia," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stuub.

As the rotating president of OSCE, Finnish Minister Stubb and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner are in Moscow after their visit to Tbilisi on Monday, where President Saakashvili signed an EU, OSCE plan providing for immediate cessation of hostilities, restoration of military status quo by withdrawal of troops from South Ossetia and launching of humanitarian relief.

Lavrov repeated Moscow's demand for Georgian military withdrawal to the points from where Tbilisi could not in future attack South Ossetia and a legally binding pact on non-use of force against the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

He accused the US for inciting Saakashvili for military 'misadventure' in South Ossetia.

"The US have given a lot of money and equipment to Saakashvili to train Georgian Army, although we had expressed concerns that he could use it inside the country. However, Washington assured us that it will not happen. In the past they (Americans) have been stopping Saakashvili at our request, when he was on the verge of this, but this time for some reasons they could not control him," Lavrov said.

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