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World - Europe

NATO says strikes cause pain to Serb forces in Kosovo

April 5, 1999
Web posted at: 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT)

fire
Serbian TV shows images of building on fire in Zemun

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NATO officials describe attacks from day one through day twelve
 

In this story:

NATO: Strategy paying off

Serbia: Civilian targets hit

Rugova meets Russian ambassador

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- NATO said Monday it had escalated its air campaign against Serb military targets in Yugoslavia and was "causing pain" to forces which were continuing their crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo with their "customary brutality."

NATO military spokesman Air Commodore David Wilby told a news conference at alliance headquarters in Brussels that targets hit by NATO included "petroleum production and storage (facilities), air fields, air defenses, ammunition storage and bridges."

NATO also hit what it said was an important headquarters of the Yugoslav armed forces in the Yugoslav capital Belgrade.

"We will capitalize on the clear weather" to particularly target Serb army and police forces on the ground in Kosovo, Wilby said.

NATO: Strategy paying off

He said NATO's strategy of going after the Serb forces in the field was paying off, and airstrikes were clearly damaging Serb forces and their heavy armor.

"We are just starting to hit field forces as the weather has just given us the chance to attack them," Wilby said. "We have ratcheted up the number of sorties we are doing. I think you will find good results coming in shortly."

He said damage to the field units was difficult to discern without a trained eye and the necessary equipment but added: "We are hitting the field guns very hard and we are having direct evidence that we are causing pain."

Wilby provided photographic evidence which he said clearly showed how Serb forces had rounded up and expelled the population of one village and later set the houses on fire.

"The forced expulsion of the ethnic Albanians from their homes ... and their deportation has not stopped," he said.

NATO civilian spokesman Jamie Shea told the news conference that 831,000 ethnic Albanians had been driven from their homes in Kosovo since the conflict there first escalated in February 1998.

He said NATO's mission was aimed at creating a "democratic and multi-ethnic" Kosovo, and that the air campaign would therefore continue until Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic accepts peace and stops the ethnic crackdown.

The United States signaled an escalation of firepower to halt Serb attacks when Washington agreed to send 24 attack helicopters, 2,000 troops and 18 anti-personnel missile systems to Albania to give NATO the ability to directly attack Serb troops and tanks.

Serbia says more civilian targets hit

Serbian state television, citing eyewitness reports, said in its report on the conflict that a NATO aircraft had been shot down near the town of Obrenovac, 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Belgrade.

No pictures of wreckage were shown, and NATO did not report any missing aircraft.

The television showed pictures of burning buildings and a hospital ward filled with victims after missiles pounded targets in Belgrade's northern district of Zemun.

The city's water system was damaged in the attack, according to the television report, and a missile hit the city's civilian airport.

Montenegro Radio said 11 people were wounded in one of the NATO strikes on the Yugoslav Army's Ibarski Rudari barracks at Raska in southern Serbia.

The Belgrade-based BETA news agency reported NATO missiles had also hit the headquarters of Yugoslavia's 3rd Army command in the major southeastern Serbian town of Nis.

Beta also quoted Radio Nis as saying that military targets in the town's industrial zone had been hit in the overnight attacks, causing a fire that spread to a tobacco warehouse.

A Belgrade resident said a series of explosions was also heard in the city's eastern neighborhood of Zvezdara.

"The force of the explosions shook the windows of my house," he said, adding that flames were visible in a nearby forest where a training school and barracks of the special police forces are located.

Belgrade has become a major target for NATO air raids in recent days after the alliance announced plans to intensify its campaign against Yugoslavia.

The Belgrade-based Tanjug news agency said Slatina airfield southeast of the Kosovan provincial capital Pristina had also been attacked.

Rugova meets Russian ambassador

Serbian television on Monday also showed pictures of a meeting in Pristina between the moderate Kosovar ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and the Russian ambassador to Yugoslavia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the meeting between Rugova and Ambassador Yuri Kotov and a spokesman described it as a "good meeting."

The spokesman said Russia was "assessing what new steps are necessary" to bring about a resolution of the conflict in Yugoslavia.

Moscow has strongly criticized the NATO airstrikes and repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to the Kosovo crisis, which Russia sees as a domestic conflict.


RELATED STORIES: NATO hits Yugoslav air force headquarters

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April 4, 1999
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Yugoslav official: Captured U.S. soldiers won't face trial
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RELATED SITES:
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News


Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Relief:
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page


Media:
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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