Pentagon details new attacks on Yugoslavia
Denies responsibility for Pristina devastation
April 8, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon on Thursday offered possibly the most detailed assessment so far of the damage inflicted by Operation Allied Force and of the dangers NATO pilots have faced in the skies over Yugoslavia.
Defense officials said cruise missiles had hit the largest petroleum storage facility in Belgrade's power plant, causing some power outages.
NATO attacks had also shut down production at the Serb's two main oil refineries. The result, Pentagon officials said, was to cut petroleum production by a third.
Aerial photos also showed the damage done to military sites.
"We have continued to pound away on the garrisons and continued to take out vehicular storage areas, maintenance areas, support buildings, barracks, and primarily where they have some of their armor and mechanized units and their heavier equipment and heavier ammunition," U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson said.
"We have good imagery in the last few days that indicates these garrisons, two at Pristina and one at Urosevac, have been severely struck, and essentially they're more than 50 percent destroyed," Wilson said.
The attacks on fuel and military and communication sites were "seriously disrupting" Yugoslavia's ability to supply and direct its troops in Kosovo, the officials said.
Defense officials played several videotapes at the afternoon briefing, including some from Wednesday when the Pentagon said NATO attacked more than 22 target areas.
One tape came from a bomb camera on a Maverick laser-guided missile as the pilot of an A-10 aircraft targeted an abutment on a bridge that had previously been hit -- but was still being used.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Wald, the vice director for strategic plans and policy on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed attention to the upper right hand corner of video as the pilot accomplished his mission.
"That's triple A, air-to-air artillery, being fired at this A-10," Wald said. "He's taking what we would consider moderate to heavy triple A all the way in on this run.
Another videotape from an F-16 showed a black streak in the upper portion of the screen that Wald said was a surface-to-air missile fired at the aircraft.
Wilson was asked about the pictures Serbian television has shown of civilian protesters holding hands along the length of bridges in an apparent effort to protect them from NATO attacks.
"That does not protect them if they have volunteers on the bridges," the admiral said.
He also noted there had been only anecdotal rumors and reports of ethnic Albanians being used as human shields, which he called a "miserable tactic."
Wilson denied that NATO was responsible for the massive devastation in downtown Pristina. He said a telephone exchange had been hit by NATO and that that attack may have caused some collateral damage.
"But the rest of the damage being shown in Pristina was done by the Serbs," Wilson said. Wilson said Pristina was not the only city to bear the brunt of Serb forces.
"We have examined all of our sources of intelligence, what towns and villages have been damaged primarily by fires set by the Serb forces as they've gone through, as well as by shooting them up with artillery and tanks and those kinds of things," said Wilson.
The Pentagon also had photos of armored vehicles and trucks that had been abandoned on a road in southwest Kosovo after a convoy of special police was attacked by NATO aircraft.
Defense officials said they believed that by destroying bridges, they were forcing Yugoslav forces on to side road where they could more easily be targeted.
And despite the announcement of a cease-fire, those troops are still on the move, the Pentagon said.
"We do have indications that they have reduced the tempo of their operations subsequent to this announced unilateral cease-fire," Wilson said.
"However, we do know that combat operations are still ongoing, some of it still being initiated by the (Kosovo Liberation Army). And so, while the Serbs did announce a cease-fire and did pull back somewhat, there is combat operations ongoing," the admiral said.
Britain accuses Serbs of preventing Kosovars' escapes
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.