MOSCOW -- Vasily Kuznetsov, 90, a former vice president of the Soviet Union who reached the peak of his career as a Kremlin trouble-shooter in the 1960s, died June 5, the official Tass news agency said. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Kuznetsov was a diplomat of the old school who played a role in resolving the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the aftermath of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Sino-Soviet dispute.

He was a former nonvoting member of the Politburo and served as vice president from 1977 to 1986.

An expert on the United States, where he once studied and worked for the Ford Motor Co., Mr. Kuznetsov was made ambassador to China in 1953 but served there for only nine months.

In 1955 he became first deputy foreign minister and leader of the Soviet delegation to the U.N. General Assembly.

While at the United Nations, he was known as a man who could slam "American imperialism" one minute and chat affably with journalists in the corridors the next.

A metallurgist by training, Mr. Kuznetsov won a Stalin Prize in 1941 for devising new steel processes, and he was given the Order of Lenin on his 50th birthday for his work in developing Soviet trade unions.