Cold War rivals seek to repair soured relations: A spy scandal and the tussle over Bosnia has brought distrust, writes Tony Barber

RUSSIA and the United States scrambled yesterday to calm storms in their relationship that are threatening the fragile trust built up since the Soviet Union's collapse in December 1991. A spy scandal, a tussle over Bosnia, a dispute over influence in East Europe and misunderstandings over the pace and nature of internal Russian reforms are some of the reasons why US-Russian relations are entering a turbulent period.

President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, indicated that there was serious displeasure in Moscow at the way the US authorities released the news on Tuesday that a senior CIA operative and his wife had been arrested on charges of spying for Moscow since 1985. 'Returning to the psychology of the Cold War and whipping up distrust and a new wave of spy mania would contradict the ideas of an international partnership for peace,' he said.

Official Russian statements hinted that the Clinton administration might have disclosed the spy scandal this week because Moscow had stolen a march over Washington in the search for a Bosnian settlement. The deployment of Russian troops in Sarajevo, announced without prior consultation with President Bill Clinton, has in effect ruled out the possibility of independent Nato military action in Serb-controlled areas of Bosnia and undermined a major element of US strategy in the Balkans.

Russia's Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, suggested it was possible to limit the damage from the espionage affair, one of the biggest such scandals in US history. 'I rule out any breakdown of our partnership,' he told reporters in the Polish city of Krakow.

The White House spokeswoman, Dee Dee Myers, also sought to play down the scandal, saying: 'It is in our national interest to maintain a relationship with Russia. We would rather see them be an economic ally than a Cold War adversary.'

In all likelihood, the Americans and Russians will agree to call it quits over the spy affair, since both sides know full well that the end of the Cold War did not mean an end to espionage. But the Bosnian crisis has provided ample evidence this month that all is not well in the US-Russian relationship.

As Nato drew up its ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs to withdraw their heavy artillery from the Sarajevo hills or face air strikes, Mr Clinton tried to reach Mr Yeltsin on the telephone to discuss the West's policy. The Washington-Moscow 'hotline' has been made virtually foolproof since it was introduced after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, but Mr Clinton inexplicably could not contact the Russian President.

A second, still more curious incident involved Russia's Defence Minister, Pavel Grachev, who let Russian television cameras film him making a telephone call to his US counterpart, William Perry. During the call, Mr Grachev invited the US to join Russia in sending peace-keeping forces to Bosnia.

It was a provocative line of conversation, since Mr Grachev knew that the Americans had set strict conditions for dispatching troops to Bosnia and were none too happy with the way Russia had intervened in Sarajevo last week. Mr Grachev's unsubtle attempt to taunt the Clinton administration ended with the telephone going dead at Mr Perry's end.

On other fronts, Mr Yeltsin diminished the impact of Mr Clinton's visit to Moscow last month when, within days of the US President's departure, he let his most prominent reformers resign from his government. Mr Clinton, who had spoken enthusiastically of Russian progress towards democracy and market-based reforms, was made to look as though he was badly out of touch with Russian politics.

The US and Russia have also squared off on the question of Nato's expansion to include Poland, the Czech Republic and other new democracies in East Europe. Russia opposes Nato's expansion, but the alliance does not want to let Moscow have a veto on its policies.

Leading article, page 19

Russia's sun sets, page 21

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

Systems Build Engineer (Development) - Peterborough

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?