Belarus leader applauds Russian response to South Ossetia crisis

SOCHI, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday applauded Russia's response to the crisis in South Ossetia following Georgia's assault to regain control of its breakaway republic.

"Russia acted calmly, wisely and beautifully," Lukashenko said at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Georgia launched a major offensive to seize control of South Ossetia on August 8, prompting Russia to send several hundred tanks and thousands of troops into the region.

Belarus was slow to back Russia's actions in the region, getting a rap across the knuckles a week ago from Moscow's ambassador in Minsk, who said Russia was "perplexed by the modest silence of the Belarusian side."

Stronger support quickly followed, and after the meeting in Sochi Lukashenko declared that Medvedev had displayed wisdom during the Georgian aggression.

"This was a calm response. Peace has been established in the region - and it will last," he said.

Russia began pulling back troops from Georgia on Monday in accordance with a plan to resolve the South Ossetia conflict drawn up by the Russian and French presidents, a senior military official said.



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