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NATO peacekeeper murdered in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- A Russian peacekeeper serving with the NATO force in Kosovo has been found shot dead.

The unnamed soldier was shot in the back and the back of the head, a NATO spokesman said on Wednesday.

His body was found in a private yard in the village of Redinci, near the town of Kamenica, about 20 miles east of the capital Pristina, added Squadron Leader Daz Slaven. The U.N. is investigating.

In Moscow, Vyacheslav Sedov, spokesman for the Russian defence ministry, said the body was found near the base of the soldier's unit which he had left without permission on Wednesday night.

In April, a Russian soldier on patrol with the NATO peacekeeping force died when he was shot in the head.

Following that killing, Russia's RIA news agency quoted paratroop force commander Georgy Shpak as saying the Russian force in Kosovo would not be withdrawn after what he called the "tragic death."

Russia strongly opposed NATO's 1999 airstrikes on Yugoslavia over Serb treatment of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, but later joined the NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Of 40,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo, about 3,000 are Russian. Russian peacekeepers also serve in Bosnia.



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