U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has arrived in Ukraine as part of a
tour of several former Soviet republics, amid an escalating standoff
with Russia over its operations in Georgia.
Cheney flew to Kiev
from Tbilisi, where he called Russia's recent military action in
Georgia an "illegitimate, unilateral attempt" to change the country's
borders by force. He said Russia's actions have cast doubt on its
intentions and its reliability as an international partner.
vice president also said the United States is committed to eventually
bringing Georgia into NATO. His comments came after talks with
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Georgian leader said
his country is committed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis and he
thanked the world community for its support.
pushed into Georgia last month after the Georgian military tried to
retake control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia has
since recognized the independence of South Ossetia and the breakaway
region of Abkhazia.
The foreign ministers of six former Soviet
republics in the Collective Security Organization backed Russia's role
in the Georgian conflict, but stopped short of recognizing the
independence of the breakaway regions.
Meanwhile, officials of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe say its
monitors have gained access to the Russian-patrolled buffer zone along
the South Ossetian boundary for the first time since the outbreak of
hostilities. They say the monitors traveled to Megvrekisi, several
kilometers from South Ossetia.
Cheney visited Azerbaijan Wednesday, saying the United States has a deep and abiding interest in the region's security.
and Georgia are critical links in a U.S.-backed plan for an energy
corridor to move oil and gas from Central Asia to Europe, bypassing
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.