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World - Europe

Russians say they're in Kosovo for the long haul

Russian soldiers
Russian soldiers near Banja in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo

icon  MESSAGE BOARD:
Rebuilding Kosovo

 IN-DEPTH SPECIAL:
Focus on Kosovo

 

July 21, 1999
Web posted at: 1:59 p.m. EDT (1759 GMT)

MOSCOW -- A top Russian official said Wednesday that Russia would maintain its peacekeeping forces in Kosovo as long as necessary, despite the financial strain on its cash-strapped military budget.

"Any peacemaking operation has a long-term character," said Lt. Gen. Nikolai Staskov, head of the country's Airborne Forces Staff, told the news agency ITAR-Tass.

The peacekeeping mission is expected to cost about $60 million per year. Russia will keep a force of 3,600 troops in the Serbian province, and about a third of those already have been deployed.

Many ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are afraid of the Russians because of their sympathies with the Serbs, who forced them from their homes in a brutal campaign of "ethnic cleansing." But Staskov said the local population would see "that we have come to them in peace, (and then) the conflicting parties will feel respect toward us."

Despite its sympathies, Russia provided no military or economic aid to Yugoslavia during NATO's 11-week long bombing campaign, which forced Yugoslav troops out of Kosovo. Once Yugoslav troops left the region, the ethnic Albanians who fled Kosovo began to flood back to their homes.

About 420,000 refugees have left Albania, leaving only about 20,000 in the neighboring country, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and NATO said Wednesday: More refugees are returning to Kosovo from Macedonia and Montenegro.

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Flood of Serb refugees overwhelms Yugoslavia
July 20, 1999
Kosovo peacekeepers find illegal jail, beaten prisoner
July 19, 1999
Two U.S. soldiers reported killed in Kosovo accident
July 19, 1999
Yugoslav army chief likens protesters to 'Western vassals'
July 18, 1999
Serb opposition leader demands new government
July 17, 1999
Anti-Milosevic movement struggles with public apathy
July 16, 1999

RELATED SITES:
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


Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

Relief:
  • UNICEF: Kosovo
  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • 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
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International
  • UNHCR


Media:
  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • 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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