US President George W. Bush warned of a "dramatic and brutal escalation" in Georgia and accused Russia of
trying to oust the democratically elected Georgian government.
"It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose (Georgia's) duly elected government," Bush said at the White House shortly after returning from the Olympics in Beijing.
Bush said there was evidence that Russia would soon bomb the civilian airport in the capital Tbilisi and was targeting other Georgian sites outside the initial combat zone in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.
"If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia," Bush said.
Bush met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week in Beijing as the initial conflict erupted in South Ossetia. He urged both leaders to immediately accept a ceasefire and bring an end to the violence.
"These actions would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on Aug 6," Bush said.
Bush said that the Russian military campaign has harmed Moscow's own international standing and that an extended conflict would damage Russian relations with the US and Europe.
"These actions have substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world," Bush said.
Russian troops have reportedly attacked the city of Gori and were moving toward Tbilisi in the assault on Georgia, which is led by pro-
Western President Mikheil Saakashvili.
"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is
unacceptable in the 21st century," Bush said.