Vladimir Lukin, head of the Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee and a former ambassador to the United States, yesterday voiced what is likely to be a common Russian interpretation of NATO’s new turn to Moscow. Lukin suggested that the West–and the United States in particular–have now realized that their military actions in the Balkans have been a failure. It is up to Russia’s diplomats, he said, to suggest to Washington a “way to get out of this difficult situation, a way which would include an end to bombing strikes but one that would not undermine the United States’ prestige.” The Russian solution, he said, would need to provide “a path of retreat” for Washington (Itar-Tass, April 12).
Yesterday’s developments in Brussels came as Russian government officials continued to focus their own energies on the Kosovo crisis. Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov chaired a meeting on Kosovo which was attended by senior officials from the Foreign and Defense Ministries and from both the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and the General Staff’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Primakov has reportedly been holding such meetings regularly since the latest Balkans crisis began. Following that meeting, Primakov met with President Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin, where the two were said to have discussed in detail the latest developments surrounding the Kosovo crisis.
CONVOY INCIDENT SOURS HUNGARIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS.