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'Right is on our side' over Georgia crisis says Putin

RIA Novosti

31/08/2008 15:50 MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that "right is on our side" in regard to the current crisis over Georgia.

Putin was speaking on the Russian Vesti TV channel.

"Whatever they might say there - right is on our side," said Putin, referring to Western criticism.

Last Tuesday, Moscow recognized South Ossetia and another Georgian breakaway republic, Abkhazia, as independent states, despite warnings from Western leaders not to do so. The move came two weeks after Moscow had announced the end of its operation "to force Georgia to peace."

The Russian military operation followed an attack by Georgia troops on South Ossetia on August 8.

EU leaders are set to gather in Brussels for an emergency meeting on Georgia. The 27-nation organization is expected to discuss future relations with Russia. A number of member states, including Britain and Poland, have called for sanctions against Moscow, as well as the postponement of talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia.

"We are behaving in an absolutely moral way and in the framework of all existing international laws," said Putin.

"And so, if any of the European countries wish to serve someone else's foreign interests - go ahead, we cannot insist otherwise," the former Russian president said.

Putin had earlier accused the White House of provoking the conflict in Georgia in order to give an advantage to "one of" the U.S. presidential candidates.

Washington has denied the allegation.

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