Cold War rivals seek to repair soured relations: A spy scandal and the tussle over Bosnia has brought distrust, writes Tony Barber
Thursday 24 February 1994
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
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Harrison Ford plane crash: Actor will make full recovery thanks to 'beautifully executed' landing
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Oxford whistleblower's attempt to protect young victim of a sadistic gang went unheeded
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing digital marketing ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Midland's leading Solar Panels provi...