President Bush consulted Tuesday with fellow leaders in Eastern and Western Europe about the crisis in the former Soviet republic of Georgia while aides scrambled to evaluate a Russian promise to stop attacking its neighbor. The White House also rejected a Russian call for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to step down.
Earlier, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered a halt to its military action in Georgia, saying the campaign had brought security in its South Ossetia region that is close to Moscow.
"The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized," Medvedev said in a nationally televised statement.
His order came just hours after Bush's strongest statement on the fighting since it began at the end of last week. He demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from Georgia, end what he called a "dramatic and brutal escalation" of violence, and accept international mediation to end the crisis. Bush said Russia's actions had "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world."
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