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Russia cool to U.N. cease-fire draft

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Russia will not sign off on a proposed United Nations resolution calling for a cease-fire with Georgia, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Monday.

Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the U.N., says he couldn't see Russia accepting the draft.

An Ossetian woman cries on Monday during a funeral in Tskhinvali.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the proposed U.N. resolution, drafted by French officials, was lacking in a "serious number" of areas.

"I can't see us accepting this French draft of this resolution," Churkin told reporters late Monday. "We will look at the draft and try to bring it to a standard where it can play a role in this."

Russia's rejection of the U.N. resolution came on the eve of stepped-up efforts by the international community to resolve the conflict. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to arrive in Moscow Tuesday for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the crisis.

One of the issues Churkin mentioned was that the draft resolution did not mention Georgian "aggression" in South Ossetia.

Russia argues that it is acting in response to a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian territory whose separatist government is backed by Moscow. As one of five permanent members of the Security Council, Russia could veto any resolution.

The draft -- backed by the United States and the other European members of the U.N. Security Council -- included calls for an immediate cease-fire between Russia and Georgia, a complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces and participation in mediation.

In Washington on Monday, U.S. President George Bush said Russia's attacks against Georgia have "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world."

Bush also warned Russia against trying to depose Georgia's government, saying evidence suggests Russia may be preparing to do so.

"Russia must reverse the course it appears to be on and accept this peace agreement as a first step in resolving this conflict," Bush said outside the White House.

Russia said its military operations are peacekeeping after a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, where Moscow already had peacekeepers operating.

Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, said Monday he had signed an internationally brokered cease-fire proposal that was to be taken next to Moscow.

Saakashvili said the cease-fire proposal would be taken to Moscow on Monday by the French Minister Bernard Kouchner and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

Stubb said they had a proposal that included a "forceful way forward" to a cease-fire and withdrawal plan.

A Georgian National Security Council official said the document signed by Saakashvili called for an unconditional cease-fire, a non-use of force agreement, a withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory, including the South Ossetia region and provisions for international peacekeeping and mediation.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke by telephone Monday with most of the foreign ministers belonging to the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations about the conflict.

The G-8 consists of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia. Russia, which officially joined the group in 1998, was absent from Monday's discussions.

The ministers reiterated their support for Georgian sovereignty and called for a diplomatic solution, Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.

Rice and the ministers voiced deep concern for growing civilian casualties and pressed Russia to accept the cease-fire proposal. Video Watch Russia blame Georgia for the crisis »

The United States hoped the Security Council would pass a "strong" resolution that "makes the point that these attacks have to stop," Wood said. "We want to see the Russians stand down." Video Watch George W. Bush condemn bombings »

The ministers with whom Rice spoke endorsed mediation efforts led by Kouchner, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, and Stubb, whose country holds the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday slammed the "cynicism" of Western leaders who have expressed support for Georgia in the conflict.

"The scale of cynicism is surprising and the skill to present white as black and black as white. The trick to present the aggressor as the victim of an aggression and to place the responsibly for the effects on the victims," Putin said.

All About South OssetiaRepublic of GeorgiaRussiaMikhail Saakashvili

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