Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the United States of orchestrating the military conflict in Georgia in order to boost the chances of a U.S. presidential candidate.
In an interview that was to air on CNN late Thursday, Putin said Washington had encouraged Tbilisi to attack South Ossetia to give one presidential candidate an edge in the hotly contested U.S. election, CNN said on its web site.
Republican John McCain, a weathered foreign policy hawk and a staunch critic of Russia, is in a neck-and-neck race with Democrat Barack Obama for the White House.
Putin did not specify a candidate. Reached by telephone, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say which one he was referring to.
McCain is an ally of outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush. Following Russia's invasion of Georgia, McCain lashed out at Russia, calling on the Bush administration to pull out from a joint space exploration project with Russia and repeating a demand that Russia be kicked out of the Group of Eight.
The White House press office had no immediate comment on Putin's statement.
Yeah, I bet the White House had no bloody comment. To paraphrase Dear Husband, Follow the