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World - Europe

Yeltsin warns of possible world war over Kosovo

Yeltsin warned NATO again Friday against deploying ground troops in Yugoslavia

 ALSO
Envoy: No progress in talks on U.S. soldiers

Britain: NATO campaign will last 'as long as necessary'

Serbs reportedly planting land mines to create Kosovo 'no man's land'

U.S. to crank up Radio Free Kosovo

Clinton: Yugo compliance is 'illusion'

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But he says no missiles re-aimed at NATO nations

April 9, 1999
Web posted at: 12:43 p.m. EDT (1643 GMT)

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned NATO Friday not to push Moscow toward military action over Kosovo, saying this could trigger a possible world war. Meanwhile, the Kremlin denied that Russian missiles had been retargeted toward NATO countries.

Yeltsin's remarks came during what some observers described as the most forceful and extensive public review of Russian policy in more than six months, a time during which Yeltsin often has been seriously ill.

The wide-ranging statements, televised for a longer length than usual, came as Russia's opposition-dominated lower house of parliament, the Duma, was preparing for an April 15 debate on moves to impeach the president.

"I told NATO, the Americans, the Germans: Don't push us towards military action. Otherwise, there will be a European war for sure and possibly world war," Yeltsin said in a meeting with regional leaders.

Earlier in the day, Yeltsin said a NATO ground operation in the Serb province of Kosovo would not be left unanswered by Moscow.

"They (NATO) want to bring in ground troops, they are preparing for that, they want simply to seize Yugoslavia to make it their protectorate ... we cannot let that happen to Yugoslavia," Yeltsin said.

The Duma, which is dominated by communists and nationalists, has called for military support for Yugoslavia, a fellow Slav and Orthodox Christian nation.

But Yeltsin spoke of the need for caution and diplomacy.

"I repeat again: Russia will not get involved if the Americans do not push us," he said.

Seleznyov comments said to be misunderstood

In Brussels, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea sought to reassure Russia that ground troops would be considered only in terms of the peacekeepers needed to secure a peace agreement.

"It cannot be in Russia's long-term interest to isolate itself in the Balkans with (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic at a time when he himself is more isolated than ever among the countries in the region," British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said in London Friday.

The speaker of the Russian Duma, communist Gennady Seleznyov, quoted Yeltsin earlier Friday as saying he had ordered nuclear missiles to be targeted toward NATO members involved in the bombing of Yugoslavia, and backed a political union of Russia, Belarus and Yugoslavia.

But the Kremlin later denied this, and Seleznyov's spokesman said his boss had been misunderstood.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, considered a key player in the Kosovo crisis, said he was not aware of any presidential order to retarget Russia's nuclear missiles.

Ivanov further said that a Russian reconnaissance ship in the Adriatic was not passing on intelligence to Yugoslavia in its conflict with NATO. Russia sent the Liman, a small eavesdropping vessel from its Black Sea fleet, to the Mediterranean last week.

Ivanov told reporters: "All information from (the) reconnaissance ship is passed only to Russia."

Correspondents Jill Dougherty and Betsy Aaron andReuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Yeltsin says Milosevic seeking entry in Russian-Belarus union
April 9, 1999
NATO vows strikes will continue, Serb TV shows fresh 'hits'
April 8, 1999
Serbs reportedly planting land mines to create Kosovo 'no man's land'
April 8, 1999
U.S. to crank up Radio Free Kosovo
April 8, 1999
Evidence of possible war crimes en route to international tribunal
April 8, 1999
Russia presses on for diplomatic end to Kosovo crisis
April 8, 1999

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:
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from DisasterRelief.org
  • 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:
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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