Cheney Decries Moscow's 'Energy Blackmail'
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says the Russian government is "unfairly and improperly" restricting its citizens' human rights. He has warned Moscow not to use its oil and gas wealth to blackmail other states.
Mr. Cheney was speaking today (Thursday) in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, at a conference of Baltic and Black Sea states. The American vice president says the policies of those who are "opponents of democracy" in Russia could affect the Kremlin's relations with other countries.
Mr. Cheney criticized Russia's decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine earlier this year, during a pricing dispute. He said no one gains when oil and gas are used for "manipulation or blackmail."
The U.S. vice president says the Bush administration will make it clear that Russia has nothing to fear and everything to gain from having strong and stable democracies on its borders.