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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday again expressed his support for Georgia and accused Russia of "bullying" and damaging its international standing by sending its military into Georgia.
But Bush, delivering a statement from the White House, also said the United States wanted to have good ties with Russia and not revert to Cold War-era relationships.
"A contentious relationship with Russia is not in America's interest and a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia's interest," Bush said before departing for Texas for a vacation.
But he added, "With its actions in recent days, Russia has damaged its credibility and its relations with the nations of the free world. Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."
Bush said he will receive briefings on the situation in Georgia from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is in Tbilisi in hopes of easing tensions between Russia and Georgia.
Last week, Russia dispatched troops into Georgia after Tbilisi sent its troops into South Ossetia to try to take back control over the province, which split away from Georgia in a war in the 1990s. Moscow backs the separatists in South Ossetia.
Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Kristin Roberts