August 8th, 2008
12:31 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain, Obama decry violence in Georgia

Tensions are growing in South Ossetia.
Tensions are growing in South Ossetia.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – John McCain and Barack Obama on Friday condemned the outbreak of violence in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, calling on the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency session - but the presumptive Republican nominee went further than his fall rival in assigning blame to Russia for the escalating hostilities.

"Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory,” McCain said in a statement to reporters shortly after his campaign plane landed in Iowa.

Watch: McCain says Russia should withdraw

“The consequences of Euro Atlantic stability and security are grave,” he added.

He also called for “a truly independent” international peacekeeping force for South Ossetia, and said the United States should work with the European Union and the OSCE to pressure Russia to halt its military efforts.

McCain has been a sharp critic of the policies of the Russian government headed by Vladimir Putin.

In a statement sent to reporters, Barack Obama called for an end to the violence, but stopped short of assigning blame, or making strong demands on Moscow. “I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict," he said.

"Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”

Russia sent troops into the region Friday to defend South Ossetia from Georgian troops battling separatist forces there.

South Ossetia is a pro-Russian enclave of Georgia that has sought independence for years, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has supported the region’s local government.

Georgia is a close ally of the United States.

soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Ian

    Looks like we need another resolution from Congress!

    August 8, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Meg

    Again, Barack Obama says nothing.... let's just dance around issues and have words come out of his mouth.

    McCain, because Obama is a joke.

    August 8, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Connie

    Boy you people get real sick, if Obama says to much he is acting like the prez, if he does go as far as you pea brains thinks he should he does not know his history,that man has more intelligents than all of the repubs put together. By the way were is the real prez. OH! I guess he is in China, maybe he could buzz over to Russia and talk to his friend Putin,look him in the eyes Geo. OBAMA 08
    Connie from Indiana

    August 8, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Michelle

    Obama's statement is lame and perfunctory; he shows no spine.

    August 8, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Phoenician, AZ

    McShame once again proved that he is a fool. The conflict has nothing to do with Russia, other than the fact that they have a small peace-keeping force there (in the compliance with the UN resolution).

    The Georgian dictator Saakashvili gave an order to attack Ossetia yesterday. Russians were holding their positions trying to prevent the escalation. Unfortunately 15 Russian soldiers were killed. Ossetia reports over 1,500 casualties among their civilians.

    Saakashvili is the only one to blame, and Americans should cut all the ties with this nationalistic dictator and warmonger.

    REPORT THE TRUTH!

    August 8, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Gleb

    Although I support John McCain, and very sceptical about senator Obama's qualifications, in this case strong campaign statements doesn't help at all. It was Georgian forces who started shelling, killing at least 10 Russian peacekeepers, and hundreds civilians (90% of them are Russian citizens). Georgian army crossed the boarder in the attempt to reclaim break-away territory. While Russia doesn't want to get involved in the full scale war, it is under the tremendous pressure from its own public to show some backbone, and this time around it has enough oil money and will to do so. Also prevaling opinion there is: why what is good for Kosovo, shouldn't be applied to Abhazia and South Osetia? Overall it is a powder keg there, and Georgian gamble might backfire big time. The USA has a very delicate balancing act to do...

    August 8, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Thomas, Illinois

    Hey Denise? Isn't that close to Czechoslovakia?

    August 8, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Brad

    Here we go again getting into everyone else's business. Now McCain wants to go to Russia, hasn't he learned anything from Iraq? We need to stop enforcing our ways on countries that have been doing things their ways for thousands of years.

    August 8, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Donkey Party

    McCain said "How dare the Georgians attack South Carolina!" But then, Joe Lieberman whispered into his ear the correct geography and fight.

    August 8, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. NoMcSame

    McSurge let me see you or McBush send in the troops to put a stop to this like you did in Iraq. All bark and no bite. You send them in after a little guy like Sadom or other countries that you know you can beat but you don't have the guts to go after Russia. Now you want to use the U.N. and talk. Obama is talk first fight later but you McSurge is more like fight first then talk later so let's fight.
    Obama08 in a hurry

    August 8, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Rob

    I will never surrender to Russia my friends. I know how to win a war with Russia my friends. Just another McWar bombing target.

    August 8, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Jon

    You nuts can't compare what's happening in Iraq to Georgia. God you are all morons. Russia has always wanted to for there former satilites back into the fold. They have in the past resorted to violence to attempt to achieve that aim. Any of you uneducated fools compare this to that need to get a life and go back to school and learn more about the history of the topic before you spew you Obama loving rehtoric. It make you and Obama look dumber than you all already are. Besides this just another reason we need an experienced leader as President. Do you Obama lovers really think Putin is really going to listen or better yet give the time of day to a cowardly novice like Obama. A vote for Obama is a vote for another idiot like Bush!!!!!

    August 8, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. bridgette

    I don't know why everyone is trying to respond to Obama as if he were some dumb idiot. He is extremely intelligent and according to all the military personnel he gets what's going on with foreign policy than Mr. McCain.

    August 8, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. 74moore@bellsouth.net

    Maybe Barack can talk them out of it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Mike

    McSurge is very worried about the border of Geogia and Pakistan.
    This man is determined to fight WW3. The Russians are in Ossetia not Georgia. This is a people that have seperated from Georgia and consider themselves to be Russian. This is not America's affair and Obama was wise (again) to take a measured approach. McWar is a very risky and scary old man. Reminds me of Cheney but with less intellect.

    August 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Andy in Charlotte, NC

    I doubt either McCain or Obama knows much about the region. They probably have teams of people trying to tell them what's going on. That's why we need a president who knows his history, current events, and geography. Unfortunately, neither candidate can provide that.

    August 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. William Courtland, Earth

    An international website, and phone listing should be generated to allow the petition of all people to voice statements of witness providing the UN with ample peaceful means, the security council should be able to quick vote for any local newmedia propaganda efforts in releasing or distributing the web site, post, and phone connections to those people within and around the zone of tension.

    August 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    SPEAK BEFORE USING JUDGEMENT = MCCAIN
    AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT GOT US INTO IRAQ. MCCAIN REVEALS IN THE OPPORTUNITY AT A SMALL WHISPER OF WAR. MCCAIN IS DANGEROUS.

    August 8, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. What!!!

    People wake up...this is scary stuff here. Russia is not a nice country. It will be a large problem for who ever the President is.

    August 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Phoenician, AZ

    CNN, what's wrong with you? Are you so afraid to post an honest comment? :)
    Well, I'll do it AGAIN:

    McShame, as usual, has no clue what's going on. Yesterday Georgian dictator Saakashvili ordered an attack on Ossetia. As a result Ossetia reports over 1,500 casualties among the civilians. 15 Russian peace-keeping troops (who tried to prevent the escalation) were killed. That's the fact and that's what you should be reporting, not the irrelevant lies of nationalistic warmonger Saakashvili.

    August 8, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. larryh wi

    LIMBAUGH: Alright, now here’s he’s brought it home. He had trashed his country in Germany, he has seen the result of that in his plummeting poll numbers. And now he does it again in Elkhart, IN. A 7 year old little girl. You’re running for President Sen. Obama, a little girl asks you a question, “Why did you start running for President?”
    It’s a 7 year old Senator. Ya tell her because you love the country. You tell her because this is the greatest place on Earth. That we’ve got challenges, but you want to help the country through it. You don’t tell a 7 year old that her country isn’t what it once was. You do not lie to 7 year olds and tell them that your country sucks. You just don’t do it Senator.
    America’s no longer what it could be? What it once was? How the Hell would you know Sir? Your experience has only been in one part of America. Elite, leftist academia.

    August 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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