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Putin says U.S. should improve relations with Russia

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Russia's prime minister said in an interview with French Le Figaro on Saturday that the U.S. should improve relations with Russia marred by the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia last month.
MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's prime minister said in an interview with French Le Figaro on Saturday that the U.S. should improve relations with Russia marred by the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia last month.

Vladimir Putin said that "in conditions of global crises mutual interests prevail over some contradictions."

He also said that the U.S. should display initiative and make the necessary steps first: "I wait for the relations to improve. They (the U.S.) marred them, and they should improve them."

Putin also said that Russia and the U.S. "always would turn out to be together," when global crises emerged, citing WWI and WWII cooperation.

"Here in Russia, we never forget it. We would also like our U.S. partners to remember that too," he added.

Russia's prime minister went on to say Moscow had evidence proving that U.S. nationals were in the security zone during the recent conflict.

Putin said that a passport copy of a U.S. national, who was spotted in the security zone during the five-day operation, which ended on August 12, had been shown to the press by Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of Russia's General Staff.

He said that "under previously signed international agreements, only three groups of people were allowed to the very security zone, that is locals, peacekeepers and OSCE observers," and Russia had documents testifying that the U.S. nationals who were in the area did not belong to any of these groups.

Putin said that "we would surely like to know what these people and other U.S. nationals were doing in the zone."

He also said that the Georgian army had been trained and equipped by the U.S.

"The fact that the Georgian army had been armed by our American partners is already undisputable, nobody even tries to challenge it," he said.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded its operation "to force Georgia to peace," saying the move was needed to protect the regions following Georgia's August 8 offensive against South Ossetia.

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