In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Bush said his message for President Vladimir Putin was that Russia's "interests lie in the West."
"My message to Vladimir Putin is there's a better way forward, and your interests lie in the West, and we ought to be working together in a collaborative way," Bush said.
Bush also voiced skepticism about Russia's path to democracy under Putin, renewing U.S. concerns about an erosion of the rule of law and free press in Russia.
"Just some of the decisions he's made have sent mixed signals to the West and mixed signals to me," Bush said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last week after meeting Putin in Moscow that the two countries had agreed to tone down their public comments.
But the two remain divided over several issues, including a plan to give Kosovo independence from Serbia, Estonia's treatment of its Soviet past, and U.S. plans to place parts of a missile-defense system in Central Europe.
Planned Missile Shield 'Not Aimed At Moscow'
Earlier on May 21, Bush said he wanted to reassure Moscow that the planned U.S. missile-defense system does not target Russia.
Speaking after talks at his Texas ranch with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Bush said he would "continue to reach out to Russia," adding that the planned shield was not directed at Moscow but at other nations "that could conceivably affect the peace of Europe."
U.S. plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic have angered Moscow.
(AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
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Democracy In Russia
Demonstrators in Moscow carry a coffin with a television in it to protest government control over broadcasting (TASS file photo)
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