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'I Spoke to Putin After Conflict Began,' Medvedev Insists

RIA Novosti

17:24 09/08/2012 MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev insisted on Thursday he first spoke with then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the evening of August 8, 2008, after the conflict in South Ossetia had already begun, apparently contradicting Putin’s own comments a day earlier about communcation between the two leaders.

“I will once again repeat what happened. During the evening from August 7 to 8, when the aggression broke out, I spoke only with the defense minister and staff from the Foreign Ministry,” he wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

Putin said yesterday he had been in touch with Medvedev as early as August 7 to discuss Russia’s military action in the crisis, which began when Georgian forces attacked the region, which Tbilisi regards as a breakaway district. Russia recognized South Ossetia as an independent state days after the five-day conflict ended.

Medvedev's comments follow the release of a documentary film in which top current and former military officials criticize him for his alleged indecision as President during the crisis, and for acting only after being “kicked” by then-Prime Minister Putin.

A seven-minute preview of the film is posted on YouTube, with the headline, “Medvedev’s Cowardice Killed 1,000 People.” While it features several high-ranking generals, including former Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army Yury Baluyevsky, it remains unclear who produced it.

The soldiers say Medvedev’s reluctance to give orders a day earlier cost the lives of both Russian peacekeepers and local civilians.

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