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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Returns Its Envoy To U.S.

Russia said Tuesday it was sending back its ambassador to the United States, only three days after recalling envoys to Washington and London in protest over the airstrikes against Iraq.

It was a speedy reversal that reflected Russia's dependence on foreign assistance and its inability to influence Western actions. But the Foreign Ministry made it clear that the attack on its Middle East ally was a source of deep irritation and that it was up to the United States to mend fences.

"The U.S. actions, naturally, affected the state of U.S.-Russian relations," ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said. "The complication of Russian-American relations is not our choice."

Rakhmanin said repairing relations "would depend on the policy of the United States and real reciprocal steps from the American side."

Russia expressed outrage at the decision by the United States and Britain to attack without a vote by the United Nations Security Council. Russia, which has a veto in the council, had argued for a political solution to what the United States said was Iraq's interference with UN inspectors looking for weapons of mass destruction.

But there was little Russia could do, since it is lobbying for billions in loans from the International Monetary Fund - where Washington has lots of clout - and for food aid from the United States and the European Union.

Having defaulted on some of its debts Aug. 17, Russia says it needs more money from the IMF to avoid further defaults. A $4.3 billion loan installment has been delayed, and IMF officials say they want to see progress toward market reforms before they deliver the money.

Ambassador Yuly Vorontsov would return Wednesday to Washington because he had finished consultations with his superiors, Rakhmanin said. He did not say whether Yury Fokin, ambassador to Britain, would head back to London.

U.S. President Bill Clinton, who called a halt Saturday to the cruise missile and air attacks on Iraq, sent President Boris Yeltsin a letter offering an explanation for the airstrikes, Interfax reported.

Backpedaling on another front, the Foreign Ministry downplayed Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's statement while on a visit to India that Russia, China and India would form a strategic "triangle" against the United States. China snubbed Primakov by responding that it would conduct an independent foreign policy, though it opposes a unipolar world dominated by one power, meaning the United States.

"China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said in reaction to Primakov's comments in New Delhi, Reuters reported.

Primakov "said that the partnership between Russia, India and China could secure the stability of the situation in the region and in the world as a whole," Rakhmanin said. "At the same time his words about the triangle, as Yevgeny Maksimovich has stressed, are not an official proposal."

Political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky said both the reversal on the withdrawal of the ambassador and the misstep on China were signs Russian was acting out of injured pride, not national interest.

"You can't recall your ambassador and ask for food aid at the same time," Piontkovsky said. "It creates a ridiculous and schizophrenic impression."

Russia said a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would go ahead in mid-January.

Deputies in the Communist-dominated State Duma said the three-day air and missile attack on their Soviet-era ally meant that the START II arms treaty would be put off until next year's session."This, of course, does not guarantee its ratification or its

discussion in the spring," deputy speaker Vladimir Ryzhkov, a member of the centrist Our Home Is Russia party, was quoted as saying by Interfax. "It is simply an indication of intent to continue work on the international treaty."

The treaty, which would limit each side to 3,000 to 3,500 nuclear warheads, was signed in 1993 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1996. Opposed by many Communists, the treaty had been creeping toward ratification with support from Primakov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.