Bush to Russia: Hands off disputed regions in Georgia; Rice vague on possible consequences
By DEB RIECHMANN
The Associated Press
President Bush warned Russia on Saturday against trying to pry loose two separatist regions in Georgia and said Moscow must end military operations in the West-leaning democracy that once was part of the Soviet empire.
Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's signing of a cease-fire plan with Georgia was "a hopeful step." But Russia's vision of Georgia without the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was a nonstarter, the president said.
At the request of Saakshvili, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., scheduled a trip to Georgia this weekend for meetings with government officials as well as citizens forced to flee their homes.