The Soviet Union said tonight that a planned meeting next month between Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Secretary of State George P. Shultz would be "impossible at this stage" because of the U.S. raid on Libya.
The cancellation of the May 14-16 meeting threw doubt on plans for a second summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev which is supposed to take place in the United States this year.
In Washington, White House spokesman Larry Speakes called Moscow's decision to cancel the meeting "a mistake." U.S. officials said the Soviet action does not preclude a possible summit later this year and said they did not anticipate any direct U.S.-Soviet military confrontation over Libya. Story on Page 28
The Soviet decision to call off the meeting was unexpected and was seen here as an indication of the Kremlin's mounting frustration with Washington's actions in the period since the first Reagan-Gorbachev summit last November.
But despite Moscow's ties to Tripoli, no military retaliation is expected from the Soviet Union, western diplomats here said. The Soviet Union has a heavy investment in Libya, with about 6,000 advisers there, according to a U.S. estimate.
A government statement read on the evening news show, more than 14 hours after American planes struck Libyan targets, warned that unless the United States halted its actions, the Soviet Union would draw "more far-reaching conclusions."
The cancellation of the Shultz-Shevardnadze meeting, which had been announced less than a week ago, was the first sign that Moscow would make Washington pay a price for its strike against one of the Soviet Union's main allies in the Arab world.
"The Soviet leadership has warned that such actions cannot but affect relations between the U.S.S.R. and the United States," the statement said. "As is evidenced by the aggressive action against Libya, this warning was not heeded in Washington."
In a meeting today with Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson, Gorbachev also put the attack on Libya in the context of U.S.-Soviet relations.
"This action, which cannot be justified by any arguments, is a link in the chain of challenging and provocative actions of the United States taken in response to the Soviet Union's peace initiatives," the official news agency Tass quoted Gorbachev as saying. "They signify a deliberate aggravation of Soviet-American relations."
Tonight's government statement characterized the American raid as "another patent confirmation of the essentially aggressive approach . . . to independent developing countries . . . . Since the time of the bandit attack on Grenada by the United States, one will not find such a flagrant mockery of international law and human morality in current history," the statement said.
The Libyan raid "irrefutably proves that the present American administration is making violence, aggression and belligerent chauvinism a standard of its policy," the statement said.
Western diplomats here expect the Kremlin to continue its harsh condemnation of the Libyan raid to draw the maximum benefit from the outrage voiced by Arab and Third World countries and to point up differences between Washington and its NATO allies.
Several times in recent years, when President Reagan has made threatening noises or even moves again Col. Muammar Qaddafi, Moscow has fulminated against the United States, but has refrained from taking any action.
When American ships fired back at Libyan targets on March 25 after Libyan missiles were fired at U.S. planes, diplomatic observers here assumed Soviet personnel manning SA5 sites in Libya were in the line of fire. Soviet officials have not said whether there were any Soviet casualties during that episode, but at a press conference this week, Soviet chief of staff Sergei Akhromeyev said Soviet citizens were at risk in Libya.
The Soviet Union has 6,000 personnel in Libya, according to one estimate here.
Diplomats see this pattern of rhetorical, but basically passive support as typical of both Soviet reluctance to get involved in local disputes and of a certain coolness in the Libyan-Soviet relationship.
Qaddafi has been a troublesome ally for the Soviets, even though he is one of Moscow's oldest allies in the Mediterranean. His history of antagonizing his neighbors has not always served Soviet interests in the region, and diplomats here have noted Soviet impatience with his erratic behavior.
At a press briefing last month, a Soviet Foreign Ministry official confirmed that plans for a Soviet-Libyan friendship and cooperation treaty -- a standard pact between Moscow and its close allies -- had been shelved.
Still, while on an official visit here last October, Qaddafi received a commitment from Moscow for delivery of SA5 missiles, which he had been asking for since 1981. Those missiles, delivered in December, helped contribute to tension in the region, according to some western diplomats.
In its reporting on the events in Libya yesterday, the Soviet news agency Tass has barely mentioned the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque frequented by American servicement which Reagan has linked to Qaddafi and cited as the reason for today's bombing.
In one commentary today, Tass noted Reagan's "false version" in claiming that the raid was in retaliation for the West Berlin explosion.
"But who would believe that?" asked the Tass account. "It is noteworthy that even the U.S.A.'s NATO allies did not take on trust the U.S. official version that the administration ostensibly possesses an irrefutable evidence" of Libya's involvement.
During his meeting with Carlsson today, Gorbachev called on the international community and Western Europe in particular to take a stand against the U.S. actions.
"Passiveness, the more so connivance at or complicity in actions of this kind threatens turmoil in international relations with unpredictable consequences," Tass quoted him as saying.