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US VP: Russia Using Energy Control as 'Tool of Force'

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has sharply criticized Russia's actions in its conflict with Georgia, and its attempts to control oil and gas supplies.

Speaking in Italy Saturday Cheney accused Moscow of threatening to use energy supplies as a "tool of force and manipulation."

Cheney was addressing an economic conference following his visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia.  The two countries are critical links in a U.S.-backed plan for an energy corridor to move oil and gas from Central Asia to Europe, bypassing Russia.

The vice president also visited Ukraine.

Earlier Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused the West of re-arming Georgia under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid.

The United States has used warships to ferry supplies to Georgia, but dismisses the claims that the aid deliveries are a cover for arms shipments.

Russian forces pushed into Georgia last month after the Georgian military tried to retake control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, the European Union says it is "practically ready" to send civilian monitors to Georgia to urge Russian troops to withdraw from disputed territory.

 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


 

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