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World - Europe

NATO vows strikes will continue; Serb TV shows fresh 'hits'

explosion
Serbian TV shows bombed fuel depot in Smederevo on Friday

related videoRELATED VIDEO
CNN's Brent Sadler tours the devastation in Pristina (April 8)
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CNN's Brent Sadler is allowed into Pristina and describes 'a scene of devastation' in Kosovo's capital (April 7)
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InteractiveIMAGE GALLERY:
Burning flags and rock concerts:
Protesting the NATO strikes

Devastation of Kosovo capital

The Serbs and Kosovo
 ALSO
Yeltsin says Milosevic seeking entry in Russian-Belarus union

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

Pentagon ready to fill request for more attack helicopters

Effort to free U.S. soldiers may fall short

 MESSAGE BOARD
Crisis in Kosovo
 MAPS
NATO officials describe attacks from day one through day fifteen
 

April 9, 1999
Web posted at: 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT)


In this story:

Doubts over GIs

Milosevic eyes Russia-Belarus union

Serbs declare peace in Kosovo

Land mine fears

Serbs gather for candlelight vigil in Manhattan

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- An auto factory and a fuel depot were claimed as the latest infrastructure casualties in NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia Friday.

In what was the sixteenth night of air attacks, NATO aircraft peppered the country with missile strikes showing no signs of easing its assault.

A local television station, Studio B, reported strikes on suburbs east of Belgrade and two towns further away that were hit in earlier NATO raids -- Pancevo, a city on the Danube River west of Belgrade, and the town of Kragujevac, 60 miles southeast of Belgrade.

The report said in Kragujevac, the factory "Zastava" was hit. It produces automobiles, including the ubiquitous nationally- produced car known as the Yugo. TV Belgrade said several civilian buildings were also been damaged in the town.

Serbian television said a fuel depot in Smederevo, a town on the Danube about 15 miles east of the Yugoslav capital, was hit. According to Serbian TV, the depot was owned by JUGOPETROL, one of the largest oil companies in Yugoslavia.

In a new development, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe officials in Albania told CNN that fighting was taking place at the Yugoslav-Albanian border Friday morning.

The fighting was between Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas on the Albanian side of the border and Yugoslav Army forces inside Yugoslavia (in Kosovo province).

The OSCE says the fighting is "more than the usual border incident" and involves light arms and artillery. It says at least two artillery shells have fallen inside Albanian territory.

The KLA has set up a camp in the border area and has been recruiting new fighters from the ranks of Kosovo-Albanian refugees arriving in Albania from Kosovo, according to the OSCE.

The border crossings between Yugoslavia and Albania were closed Friday morning.

Doubts over GIs

The attacks, aimed at cutting supply lines to the military, came as a high-ranking envoy from Cyprus, Parliamentary Speaker prepared to meet Yugoslav President Friday over the possible release of three American soldiers held captive by Serb forces.

"I expect to have very friendly and constructive negotiations," said Kyprianou who arrived in Belgrade Thursday.

In Washington, President Clinton said he supports "anything honorable that would secure" the release of the three soldiers.

Although Kyprianou expressed optimism he might get the soldiers released, Yugoslav government sources told CNN's Brent Sadler they had "no expectation" that the three would be released soon.

NATO's Operation Allied Force has now stretched into its third week, with the military alliance pledging to press on with the bombing campaign until Milosevic pulls his troops out of Kosovo, accepts a political framework for the region, allows thousands of refugees to return and accepts the presence of a NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Attacks Thursday night and Friday morning were curtailed due to poor weather. CNN's Bill Hemmer reported from the Aviano air base in Italy that fewer flights than normal departed because of the conditions.

Milosevic eyes Russia-Belarus union

Russian President says Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has asked to join the Russian-Belarus union.

Yeltsin says his Yugoslav counterpart made the request in a meeting with the speaker of Russia's lower house of Parliament, Gennady Seleznyov, who returned Thursday from a trip to Belgrade.

Seleznyov briefed Mister Yeltsin and the parliament about the trip on Friday.

Russia and neighboring Belarus have created a loose political union over the past three years. Yugoslavia has observer status in the union's parliamentary assembly. It shares no borders with either country.

Russia has condemned the NATO strikes against Yugoslavia, and Yeltsin has been trying to broker an end to them. He has also reiterated that he won't allow Russia to be drawn into the conflict.

vigil
In New York, Serbian-Americans hold candlelight vigil  

The Russian leader predicted that NATO will not launch a ground offensive in the Yugoslav conflict.

"NATO won't dare start ground operations," Yeltsin said. "If that happens, the Serbs will fight to the end."

Serbs declare peace in Kosovo

Meanwhile, Serbian television aired a report saying a military offensive against what it called "terrorists" in Kosovo had ended and peace had been restored in the province. There was no independent confirmation that the fighting in Kosovo had stopped.

NATO and humanitarian officials expressed concern about the thousands of displaced Kosovar Albanians trapped inside Kosovo after being forced out of their homes. The U.N. refugee agency said the number of those displaced was not known because international monitors had been unable to enter Kosovo to get an accurate tally.

U.S. intelligence estimates that there are more than 700,000 displaced Kosovars within the province. Before monitors left the region in late March, the UNHCR estimated that figure at 260,000.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, said it appeared Serb authorities had closed the borders, halting the outflow of refugees.

"We don't know what has happened to them, and I'm very, very worried," Ogata said.

Land mine fears

NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said Yugoslav forces were planting land mines along the border is an attempt to make Kosovo "a total no-man's land in the full sense of the term."

CNN's Mike Boettcher reported from Kukes on the Kosovo- Albanian border that there were no refugees lined up to cross where there had been thousands earlier in the week. He said Serb soldiers could be seen laying what appeared to be land mines on the Yugoslav side of the border.

NATO issued a warning that unless Serbian television allowed Western broadcasts during two three-hour periods each day it would be bombed because it was being used as a "propaganda tool."

In addition, Air Commodore David Wilby charged that Serb forces, not NATO, were responsible for the devastation of downtown Pristina, the provincial capital of Kosovo.

"NATO has certainly not caused the widespread and random damage which we believe has been orchestrated by Serbian forces," Wilby said.

Serbs gather for candlelight vigil in Manhattan

Members of the Serbian-American community gathered in lower Manhattan Thursday evening for its annual candlelight vigil during the Orthodox Easter period and mourned for their country, bombarded for more than two weeks by NATO airstrikes.

"We are grieving for our country, I grieve for every single soul there and for every square foot of my country being bombed," said Nadezda Dokovic, one of about 30 people who attended the vigil outside St. Sava Church, which holds the annual event.

The vigil began after the Orthodox Good Thursday liturgy and was expected to continue until 8 a.m. EDT Friday. Orthodox Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 11.

Many of those gathered expressed outrage at NATO's bomb campaign against Yugoslavia, with some saying it drew parallels to Easter 1941 when Germany bombarded Belgrade in early April and German armored spearheads entered the city on Easter.

"On Easter 1941, Belgrade was also bombed. It's a strange coincidence. The very best solution for Yugoslavia right now is the simplest solution: U.S., NATO out of Yugoslavia, out of the Balkans," Milos Raickovich said.

St. Sava is one of two Serbian churches in Manhattan.

Correspondents Steve Harrigan, Mike Boettcher, Brent Sadler, Matthew Chance and Bill Hemmer contributed to this report



RELATED STORIES:
Yugoslavia declares 'peace' in Kosovo; NATO airstrikes continue
April 8, 1999
NATO strikes target Serb ground forces, complicate GI release efforts
April 8, 1999
Blasts shake Belgrade in dawn of third week of airstrikes
April 7, 1999
NATO reports 'breakthrough' against Serb forces
April 7, 1999
NATO defies Yugoslav cease-fire with more bombing
April 7, 1999
NATO rejects cease-fire, resumes bombing Yugoslavia
April 6, 1999
NATO rejects Yugoslav unilateral cease-fire offer
April 6, 1999
Airstrikes hit home in a small Serbian town
April 6, 1999
Support for ground troops swells in Congress
April 4, 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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