In a stinging rebuke, US Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday that Russia's actions in the conflict with Georgia were an "affront to civilized standards" and called on Western nations to stand united against any effort by Moscow to use its dominance as an energy supplier to intimidate its neighbors.
Cheney also said the expansion of NATO would continue despite Moscow's opposition, arguing that Russia should welcome its neighbors' joining an alliance that was not belligerent and whose members were democratic.
Moscow has objected to NATO's promise of future membership to Georgia and Ukraine, states it once ruled during the Soviet era.
"Russia's actions are an affront to civilized standards and are completely unacceptable," the vice president said. "Russia has offered no satisfactory justification for the invasion, nor could it do so."