Putin, however, insisted that Bush was a man of honour and integrity, but blamed members of his administration for the sharp deterioration of relations with Russia. "I still hope we will maintain good relations, but it is the court that makes the king," he told a group of foreign journalists in an interview at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. He nonetheless spoke fondly of his relationship with Bush, saying, only half-jokingly: "I treat President Bush better than some Americans would".
Much of his criticism was aimed directly at the Bush administration, which he accused of training and army the Georgian military and encouraging its leadership to launch last month's assault on the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
"Should we have wiped the bloody snot off our face and bowed our head? Should we have waved our penknives?" he said in response to the mobilisation of Georgian tanks and troops.