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World - Europe

Belgrade area targeted in fourth day of NATO strikes

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March 27, 1999
Web posted at: 12:54 p.m. EST (1754 GMT)

In this story:

NATO: No plans for ground troops

Shift in bombing focus

Russia will not 'get sucked in'


BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- An explosion rocked the outskirts of Belgrade Saturday as NATO moved into a fourth day of airstrikes against military targets in Yugoslavia.

U.S. Navy vessels fired two cruise missiles at Yugoslavia Saturday afternoon, CNN's Martin Savidge reported from Bari, in southern Italy.

CNN's Brent Sadler -- who was back in Belgrade after some international journalists were forced to leave Yugoslavia earlier -- heard one explosion outside Belgrade Saturday as air raid sirens rang out in the Yugoslav capital.

Meanwhile, a NATO spokesman said Saturday that, while the airstrikes had been successful so far, the military alliance was "alarmed" by reports of continued "killing, looting, harassing and intimidation of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo."

Spokesman Jamie Shea, addressing a NATO news conference in Brussels, said there were reports that Yugoslav army and special police units were going door-to-door in north and central Kosovo, taking men from their homes to unknown destinations.

A large part of Podujevo -- just north of the Kosovo capital Pristina -- is reportedly burning, Shea added.

British Secretary of Defense George Robertson accused Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of stepping up the crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

"We have heard that some villages do not exist," Robertson said, referring to reports from various sources about mounting repression.

U.S. President Bill Clinton on Saturday said that an increased Serb offensive in Kosovo showed even more reason for NATO allies to "stay the course" and continue the air attacks on Serb targets.

NATO: No plans for ground troops

NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Wesley Clark has acknowledged that air power alone cannot stop Serb attacks on Kosovo villages.

But NATO on Saturday again firmly denied that the alliance was planning to send in ground troops.

British Air Commodore David Wilby, addressing the NATO news conference, said that NATO's third round of bombings, launched on Friday, had seen 249 aircraft sorties.

He said some of the targets were in Belgrade and Nis in Serbia and several others were in Kosovo.

Five Yugoslav aircraft have been shot down so far, the commodore said, including two over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday.

He said there had been no NATO losses to date.

Shift in bombing focus

Britain said Saturday that NATO was beginning to shift the emphasis of its attacks.

"It is now clear that the Yugoslav air defense system is becoming more and more degraded, leaving our forces greater ability to concentrate more fully on attacking those aspects of Milosevic's military apparatus which support his campaign of repression in Kosovo," said Gen. Charles Guthrie, Britain's chief of the defense staff.

The Yugoslav Third Army headquarters at Kursumilja, seen by NATO as orchestrating operations against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, was hit by alliance aircraft Friday.

"This will give the Yugoslavs' command and control real problems," Guthrie told a London news conference. "We know that their army has been badly rattled by this attack."

NATO officials say the bombings will continue until Milosevic accepts an international interim peace plan for Kosovo -- or until NATO considers the Yugoslav armed forces so reduced by the bombings that they will not be able to carry on their attacks in Kosovo.

Yugoslav state media reported Saturday that NATO bombings the previous day had destroyed a telecommunications transmitter in western Serbia, the dominant republic in Yugoslavia.

Five NATO missiles hit unspecified Yugoslav army installations at Radovce and Sipcanic near Podgorica, capital of Serbia's small sister republic Montenegro, the official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said Saturday.

Russian protest
Under the banner of the Communist Party, more than 5,000 people have gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to protest the NATO airstrikes   

Russia will not 'get sucked in'

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on Saturday that Russia would not take any action that would risk drawing it into the conflict.

"If anyone thinks Russia is going to get sucked in, they are deeply mistaken," Ivanov said at the start of an emergency session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the Yugoslav crisis.

Ivanov said Russia would consider asking the United Nations General Assembly to hold a special session to discuss the crisis if the NATO airstrikes continue.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday voted down a Russian-sponsored resolution calling for a halt to the bombings.

Air raid sirens in Belgrade; Britain says Serb offensive wipes out Kosovo villages
March 27, 1999
Pentagon: 'We have made progress'
March 26, 1999
Greeks angered by NATO strikes clash with riot police
March 26, 1999
Security Council rejects Russian call to halt bombing
March 26, 1999
Russia expels NATO staff; Greece calls for bombing halt
March 26, 1999
Serb attacks reported on Kosovo villages
March 26, 1999
NATO: Yugo ground troops may be targeted
March 26, 1999
Poll: Americans split on NATO airstrikes
March 25, 1999

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • 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

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

  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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