DUSHANBE, August 12, 2008, Asia-Plus - U.S. President George W. Bush expressed his concern over Russian military operations in Georgia which he said is threatening to escalate the conflict in the north Caucasus republic.

"I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori, and are threatening Georgia''s capital of Tbilisi. There''s evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city," he said.

He said that if these reports are accurate, "these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia" and that these actions "would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on August the 6th."

The president said that Russia "has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people."

He said Russia''s government "must respect Georgia''s territorial integrity and sovereignty" and "reverse the course it appears to be on."

"Russia''s actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. These actions have substantially damaged Russia''s standing in the world. And these actions jeopardize Russia''s relations with the United States and Europe. It is time for Russia to be true to its word and to act to end this crisis," Bush said.