(CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney harshly criticized Russia's military incursion into Georgia on Saturday, calling the action "an affront to civilized standards."
Speaking to a group of business and political leaders in Italy, Cheney faulted Russia for invading the former Soviet republic, killing civilians and displacing thousands of Georgians, and failing to abide by a ceasefire agreement from the European Union.
"This chain of aggressive moves and diplomatic reversals has only intensified the concern that many have about Russia's larger objectives," he said. "For brutality against a neighbor is simply the latest in a succession of troublesome and unhelpful actions by the Russian government."
The statements come a day after the U.S. Navy command ship USS Whitney arrived in the Georgian port of Poti in what the United States called a humanitarian mission.
Russian leaders have said the fact that a military vessel is being used in a relief mission raises concerns.
Cheney visited Georgia this week, telling President Mikheil Saakashvili that the United States will help the country rebuild its government and economy. The U.S. has promised $1 billion in relief to Georgia.
Russia has accused the U.S. of propping up Georgia in order to have an ally in the region.
Russia has not fully withdrawn its troops after clashes between the two countries last month. Georgia's military had moved to secure breakaway region South Ossetia when the Russians intervened.
Russia has recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgian region seeking to break away.
"The United States and many in Europe have made clear that Russia's actions are an affront to civilized standards and are completely unacceptable," Cheney said.
"Differing views on the status of these two areas, within the sovereign borders of the Georgian democracy, cannot justify a sudden and violent incursion by Russia," he said. "This much, at a minimum, should be understood by all people of good will in the year 2008."
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