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World - Europe

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

Aftermath
Serb TV shows images of a building ablaze after NATO airstrikes

related videoRELATED VIDEO
Listen to NATO spokesmen at the April 10 alliance briefing

Col. Konrad Freytag describes Yugoslav targets hit overnight
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Jamie Shea assesses the first 17 days of strikes
Real 28K 80K
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Jamie Shea talks about humanitarian efforts
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InteractiveIMAGE GALLERY:
Burning flags and rock concerts:
Protesting the NATO strikes

Devastation of Kosovo capital

The Serbs and Kosovo
 ALSO
Envoy: No progress in talks on U.S. soldiers

Yeltsin warns of possible world war over Kosovo

Rally, L.A. police support captured U.S. soldiers

Cypriot envoy faces political backlash over failed mission

Rugova says he was coerced into Belgrade talks

Army urges Orthodox church to defend Yugoslavia

 MESSAGE BOARD
Crisis in Kosovo
 MAPS
NATO officials describe attacks from day one through day 16
 

April 10, 1999
Web posted at: 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT)

Russia 'has no intention of becoming involved'

LONDON (CNN) -- More than two weeks of NATO airstrikes have cut off vital supplies to Yugoslavia's forces in Kosovo and will continue until all of NATO's goals are met, British military officials said Saturday.

"We have now had 17 days of airstrikes. People ask quite properly how long it will go on," Armed Forces Minister Doug Henderson said. "I answer them emphatically, it will go on as long as necessary."

(Audio 382 K/33 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Meanwhile, Henderson said Britain received new assurances from Russia on Saturday that it would not intervene militarily in the Balkans conflict.

Russia has strong historic ties to the Serbs, who make up the majority of the population in the Yugoslav federation. It has strenuously objected to the NATO campaign, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned Friday that the conflict could lead to a world war.

But on Saturday, Russia's foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, assured British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook "that Russia had no intention of becoming involved in any confrontation in the Balkans and no wish to see any escalation," Henderson said. "The foreign secretary welcomed that assurance."

NATO officials say the bombing will stop only when Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ends attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, withdraws troops from the province and allows a NATO-led military force to oversee a plan for its autonomy.

Henderson said the airstrikes have cut off supplies of fuel and ammunition to Yugoslav troops. NATO accuses the Serb-led Yugoslav army of conducting a violent campaign against ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo.

"We have weakened and disrupted President Milosevic's military machine. We have seriously damaged his ability ... to sustain a campaign of terror and repression," Henderson said.

Bad weather hinders raids

But Henderson said bad weather hampered NATO bombing runs Friday night.

The weather was not expected to improve during the weekend, with a forecast of at least two days of clouds and scattered showers. However, CNN's Bill Hemmer reported some NATO planes departed the Aviano air base in Italy on Saturday morning. Aviano is a main staging area for NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia.

The 17th consecutive night of bombing began shortly after NATO requested about 50 additional warplanes to intensify Operation Allied Force. Currently, about 600 NATO aircraft are operating in the Balkans.

NATO and Belgrade offered conflicting reports Saturday over a transmission station hit in the overnight bombing raids.

Tanjug, Yugoslavia's official news agency, reported that a transmitter for the country's RTS television channel was hit near Kosovo's provincial capital of Pristina. But a NATO official told CNN that the target was a military radio transmitter.

There was no independent confirmation of either report.

Media duel

NATO has accused Yugoslavia's state-run media of spreading propaganda and suggested that it was fair game as a target.

Yugoslavia's charge d'affaires Vladislav Jovanovic told CNN he was not surprised that NATO might be targeting media facilities.

He said the attack on the transmitter was in violation of conventions guaranteeing freedom of the press. "The United States, which pretends to be the champion of democracy in the world, is acting against the free voice of the truth about the aggression against Yugoslavia." (Audio 365 K/33 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Meanwhile, NATO has launched a counterattack on the Serb media via the Internet. Henderson said NATO translated its Web site into Serbo-Croatian to make it easier for Yugoslav citizens to read.

"This will expose the reasons why Yugoslavia is now a pariah state in the international community -- reviled and despised for what it is doing in Kosovo," Henderson said.

Rape allegations

industrial zone
NATO has translated its Web site into Serbo-Croatian, to counter images on Serb TV that it calls propaganda  

In Pentagon briefings on Yugoslavia Friday, U.S. officials said they had received reports that Serb troops were herding ethnic Albanian women from Kosovo into Serb military camps and raping them.

"This is a very eerie and disturbing echo of documented instances of rape and killing of women in Bosnia during the Bosnia war, and it is obviously outrageous if this is occurring," said Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon.

Late Friday, about 1,500 ethnic Albanians streamed from Kosovo into Albania in a convoy of tractors, jeeps and other vehicles after Yugoslav forces and Serb police expelled them from their village near Pristina, according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

It was the first mass exodus of refugees into Albania since the checkpoint was reportedly closed three days ago.

Correspondents Bill Hemmer, Brent Sadler, Alessio Vinci and Matthew Chance contributed to this report.




RELATED STORIES:
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Yeltsin warns of possible world war over Kosovo
April 9, 1999
U.S. casts doubt on Cuban base as refugee site
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Clinton: Yugo peace claim is 'illusion'
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U.S. casts doubt on Cuban base as refugee site
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Yugoslavia declares 'peace' in Kosovo; NATO airstrikes continue
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
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • 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:
  • Mercy International USA
  • 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
  • Prayers for peace
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