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Putin: U.S. failure to restrain Georgia harmed Russia-U.S. relations

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The prime minister of Russia Vladimir Putin blasted the United States on Thursday for its inability to keep Georgia from attacking South Ossetia, and said that this had damaged bilateral relations between Russia and USA.

"This [inability] of course harmed our relations, first of all intergovernmental," Vladimir Putin told CNN in an interview.

Tbilisi launched a military offensive against South Ossetia on August 8, seeking to retake control of the breakaway region. At least 64 Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of South Ossetian civilians died, with thousands more forced to flee the devastated republic.

Putin said Russia had hoped the United States would step into the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict and stop Georgia attacking South Ossetia.

"We expected the U.S. to intervene in the conflict and stop the aggressive actions of the Georgian leadership," Putin told CNN.

However, Putin said, "The U.S. administration not only failed to restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal action, but the American side in fact trained and equipped the Georgian army."

Seven of the world's leading industrialized nations have condemned Russia's decision on Tuesday to recognize Georgia's breakaway republics as independent, while calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Georgia.

"We, the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, condemn the action of our fellow G8 member," the group said in a joint statement.

Meanwhile, the former Russian president said Russia had no intention of turning a blind eye to the killings of its citizens for the sake of membership of the G8.

Speaking on Russia's relations with the West, Putin said that Russia would not use energy to achieve its aims, as Russia also depended on the stability of its gas supplies.

However, Putin dealt a blow to U.S. poultry exporters, announcing that 19 U.S. companies are to be banned from exporting their products to Russia as they "failed health and safety tests."

He also added that 29 other companies had been warned to "improve their standards or face the same ban."

Reported by RIA Novosti

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