TBILISI (AFP) - US Vice-President Dick Cheney accused Russia Thursday of an "illegitimate" invasion to redraw the map of Georgia and cast doubt on whether Russia could be trusted as an international partner. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, Cheney pledged US help beyond a one billion dollar aid package announced Wednesday. Meanwhile Moscow, which says its military intervention was justified because Georgia had attacked Russian citizens in breakaway South Ossetia, received the backing of foreign ministers from six ex-Soviet countries. They stopped short, however, of following Russia into recognising the independence of South Ossetia and the second separatist region of Abkhazia, also at the centre of last month's brief war. "Russia's actions have cast grave doubt on Russia's intentions and on its reliability as an international partner, not just in Georgia but across this region and indeed across the international system," Cheney said. "After your nation won its freedom in the Rose Revolution, America came to the aid of this courageous young democracy," he said, referring to the 2003 uprising that brought Saakashvili to power. "We are doing so again as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory and an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country's borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world." Cheney strongly backed Georgia's bid to join Nato, a move that has been vehemently opposed by Russia, saying Washington was "fully committed" to its eventual membership. Cheney, who became the highest-ranking American official to visit Tbilisi since last month's conflict, watched boxes of aid being unloaded to highlight the one-billion-dollar US package. Meanwhile, foreign ministers from six ex-Soviet countries on Thursday backed Russia's role in its conflict with Georgia, but stopped short of recognising the independence of the two rebel regions there. "The ministers support the active role of the Russian Federation in working towards peace and cooperation in the Caucasus," read a statement adopted by ministers from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a regional bloc. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega became the first foreign leader to follow Russia's lead and recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, newspaper reports there said Wednesday.