Reports: Russia criticizes EU threats

Russia's European Union envoy said Tuesday that the bloc had sent the wrong signal to the wrong side when it threatened to postpone talks on a new partnership deal because of the war in Georgia, a news agency reported. The EU decision, widely seen as a slap-on-the-wrist for Moscow, was made at a summit meeting in Brussels on Monday. EU officials said unless Russian troops pull back from positions in Georgia, talks on the wide-ranging political and economic agreement would be put off. "This political signal is wrong, I would say, incorrect, and it is also addressed to the wrong side," Russia's EU envoy, Vladimir Chizhov, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. Russia says the blame for last month's war with Georgia belongs to the Georgian government, which sent forces into the breakaway province of South Ossetia in an attempt to regain it. Russia responded with air and land attacks. Britain and Eastern European nations at the summit held out for a tougher line. But Europe's dependence on Russian oil and natural gas deterred the EU from stronger sanctions.