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Lavrov Rejects Cheney's Criticisms

Russia's foreign ministry has rejected the U.S. vice president's recent remarks that Moscow is resisting the growth of democracy in eastern Europe.

In a statement posted on the ministry's Web site Saturday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov chastised Dick Cheney, saying the vice president was poorly informed when he accused Moscow of using oil and gas supplies to manipulate its neighbors. Lavrov said Russia has not violated an international supply contract in the past 40 years.

Speaking at a forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Cheney told leaders from nine formerly communist-ruled countries that the Russian government is "unfairly and improperly" restricting human rights.

The Kremlin denies the allegations.

Lavrov said he believes Cheney's comments will not undermine cooperative efforts to develop democracy in the region.

President Bush is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg in mid-July during the annual summit of the Group of Eight nations.

Some information for this report provided by AP.