Russia envoy: Tensions with US are probably worst since 1973

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia's U.N. ambassador said that tensions with the United States are probably the worst since the 1973 Mideast war.

But Vitaly Churkin said Friday that Cold War relations between the Soviet Union and Russia more than 40 years ago were different than U.S.-Russia relations today.

"The general situation I think is pretty bad at this point, probably the worst ... since 1973," he said in an interview with three journalists at Russia's U.N. Mission.

But Churkin said that "even though we have serious frictions, differences like Syria, we continue to work on other issues ... and sometimes quite well."

That wasn't the case generally during the Cold War.

When Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar in October 1973, the Mideast was thrown into turmoil. And according to historians, the threat of an outbreak of fighting between the Soviet Union, which backed the Arabs, and the United States, Israel's closest ally, during the Yom Kippur War was the highest since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Churkin said there are "a string of things" that have brought U.S.-Russian relations to their current low point.

"It's kind of a fundamental lack of respect and lack of in-depth discussions" on political issues, he said.