Wednesday, 10 May, 2000Russian general attacks Nato
A senior Russian military leader has criticised the Nato-led peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, hours before starting talks at Nato headquarters in Brussels.
The attack by the Chief of the Russian General Staff, General Anatoly Kvashnin, came ahead of the first Russian talks with Nato since the Kosovo crisis brought a halt to official ties between them.
The Russian Interfax news agency quoted the general as saying the operation in Kosovo was one-sided, and was not succeeding despite Nato claims to the contrary.
"We think no positive signs can be seen in the situation," General Kvashnin said.
"Nato is trying to present a better picture of the situation than actually exists."
He also said the alliance was not doing enough to protect Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo.
"The situation in Kosovo is complicated and tends to deteriorate," General Kvashnin said.
After making the comments in Moscow, the general travelled to Brussels where he started talks on Wednesday with Nato officials.
Kosovo was expected to feature heavily in the discussions, along with the situation in Bosnia, and Russia's newly revised military doctrine, which is seen by some western observers to place an additional emphasis on nuclear weaponry.
The BBC's defence correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, says the general may well take the opportunity to re-state Russia's well-known views on other sensitive subjects - not least Washington's plans to develop limited missile defences.
He says it is not clear how far the new president, Vladimir Putin, sees the relationship with Nato going, while Nato sees the links as vital.
Relations between the two sides were put on hold after Nato launched its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which Russia strongly opposed.
It was agreed earlier this year that contacts should be resumed.
General Kvashnin's visit to Brussels was due to include a meeting with the new supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, US General Joseph Ralston, who took over from US General Wesley Clark last week.