Bad weather hampers NATO airstrikes
U.N. mission calls conditions in Kosovo 'revolting'
May 25, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Poor weather has hampered NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia during the last 24 hours, but some missions were carried out nonetheless, Gen. Sir Charles Guthrie, chief of British defense, said Tuesday.
Many strikes focused on command and control facilities, including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's villa at Dobanovci, 12 miles (19 km) west of Belgrade, NATO said.
Among the targets hit in the latest round of attacks were the Belgrade Ministry of Internal Affairs, air fields at Batajnica and Sjenica, a petroleum storage site at Novi Sad, power transmission towers in Belgrade and an ammunition depot at Vrdnik, Guthrie said.
Yugoslav army targets in Kosovo also were attacked, he said, including military vehicles, a logistics support base and ground forces.
Yugoslav media reported that NATO targeted the Serbian interior ministry about 3 a.m. Tuesday, and the independent Beta news agency reported that "two or three missiles" which hit the ministry failed to explode. The ministry building had been attacked when NATO aircraft bombed the Yugoslav capital for the first time on April 3.
Jets fired at Mount Cer, 60 miles west of Belgrade, where a transmitter is located, according to Yugoslav media, which also reported strikes at Batajnica airport, northwest of Belgrade, and the suburb of Rakovica, the site of a large underground military complex.
A power tranmission line was struck near Obrenovac, 20 miles southwest of Belgrade, and a TV transmitter was hit near Uzice. The state-run Tanjug news agency said missiles hit power lines in Boljevacka Forest near Obrenovac and caused blackouts in some parts of Belgrade.
Ten strong explosions rocked the northern city of Novi Sad near a refinery and power station and four missiles fired by NATO jets struck civilian targets around Glogovac, 15 miles southwest of Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina, Tanjug reported.
The independent Beta news agency reported an attack late Monday on the southern city of Nis but provided no details, except to say a "big flash" could be seen on the city's horizon.
Other NATO attacks have devastated Yugoslavia's power grid and seriously threatened water supplies, Yugoslav media said.
Belgrade's water supplies were down by 90 percent, according to some reports. Fifteen NATO bombs reportedly hit water pumps early Monday near the northwestern town of Sremska Mitrovica.
Other pumping stations were shut down because of power outages caused by NATO hits in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. Millions of people were without electricity.
"Every effort is being made in this difficult situation to restore power supply to priority users -- hospitals, the water company, bakeries -- in order to alleviate the humanitarian disaster being caused by NATO," Serbia's power company told Tanjug.
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said Monday that Milosevic is suffering from international isolation and increasing internal dissent, proving that NATO should stick with its air campaign.
"We want to maintain the strategy at this very moment which is producing results rapidly," Solana told The Associated Press. Milosevic "is cracking. No question about it," he said.
NATO's air commander, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Short, predicted the alliance would accomplish its goals in the next two months. He told The Washington Post that NATO's bombing campaign will chase Yugoslav forces out of Kosovo by mid-summer.
But CNN's Walter Rodgers reported from Belgrade that NATO's relentless attacks appeared to have no adverse effect on the public's opinion of Milosevic. Instead, Rodgers said, Belgrade's citizenry appears increasingly angry at NATO.
The alliance, however, continued to report growing disaffection with Milosevic's policies, ranging from anti-war protests in Serbian towns to the desertion of some Yugoslav troops.
Milosevic balked at a provision in the Kosovo peace plan calling for an international peacekeeping force in the province with NATO at its core. The Yugoslav president has said he would accept a lightly armed force controlled by the United Nations, but NATO insists that nothing less than a fully armed contingent can guarantee the safety of ethnic Albanian refugees returning to their homes.
On Tuesday, representatives of NATO countries will discuss a possible increase in the number of troops to be deployed as a peacekeeping force when the bombing campaign ends.
NATO now has about 13,000 troops, mostly British and French, in Macedonia as part of a future force, called KFOR. The Pentagon said 45,000 to 50,000 troops likely would be needed for that operation, up from an initial assessment of 28,000.
The call for an increase prompted protests from Yugoslavia's top diplomat at the United Nations, Vladislav Jovanovic, who called the possibility "a very dangerous new step in the wrong direction."
"This is a disguise for invasion, which is in preparation, and nobody can call it a liberation of Kosovo," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
But NATO denied the troops were preparing to invade Kosovo.
"Nobody is talking about putting in ground troops into a combat situation," said NATO spokesman Jamie Shea. "Everybody agrees that the air campaign has to run its course until such time as those Serb forces are degraded, diminished, demoralized and on their way out."
Pentagon: No plans for Kosovo invasion
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