- BELGRADE (Reuters) - NATO struck at targets around Belgrade and Kosovo
on Wednesday after dismissing a cease-fire offer by Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic, and Britain said nowhere in Yugoslavia was "immune"
- While more refugees poured out of Kosovo
in what one NATO spokesman called a "modern-day Great Terror",
diplomatic sources in Brussels said the Western allies had given Supreme
Commander General Wesley Clark the go-ahead to broaden the number, type
and scope of targets.
- But unfavorable weather was still limiting
NATO's ability to hit the Yugoslav forces on the ground in Kosovo and
stop what Clark has described as "an anti-humanitarian juggernaut"
in the southern Serbian province.
- In London, British Defense Secretary
George Robertson told a news conference: "The Serbian war machine
is the killing machine destroying human beings inside Kosovo. Nowhere
is immune (in Yugoslavia) to these (NATO) attacks."
- The head of the United Nations food agency
meanwhile predicted that people in Kosovo might soon face starvation.
"Without international relief assistance starvation is expected within
10 days to two weeks," World Food Programme executive director Catherine
Bertini said in London.
- In Bonn, German Foreign Minister Joschka
Fischer said the Western allies would let up only if Belgrade's forces
stopped killing ethnic Albanians and forcing others to flee. But German
Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said attacks on the Yugoslav republic
of Montenegro could end if its leaders continued to deny support to Belgrade's
actions in Kosovo.
- In the eighth day of air strikes, NATO
missiles hit industrial suburbs of Belgrade and installations around the
Kosovan capital Pristina, according to the official Yugoslav news agency
- Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov
said in a televised interview shown on Wednesday that he was not discouraged
by NATO's rejection of peace proposals made by Milosevic, whom he met
in Belgrade on Tuesday.
- But another senior official voiced a
rare Russian criticism of the Yugoslav leadership. "Not only NATO
but Milosevic as well is to blame," First Deputy Foreign Minister
Alexander Avdeyev told the upper house of parliament during a debate on
Kosovo. He said that in 1989, Milosevic had "scrapped autonomy in
Kosovo, where until then different ethnic groups had lived in peace".
- Milosevic expressed readiness on Tuesday
to withdraw some forces from Kosovo and resume a peace process with the
ethnic Albanian majority there if NATO were to halt its action. U.S. President
Bill Clinton and other alliance leaders swiftly rejected his proposals.
- Milosevic said the air offensive posed
a major threat to European security. "The people of Yugoslavia are
heroically resisting NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia cannot
be brought down by weapons," Serb TV quoted him as saying.
- In an ominous new development on Wednesday,
hundreds more refugees arrived in Macedonia on a locked train, saying
they had been herded onto carriages by Serb forces. The refugees said
they had been rounded up from several districts in the Kosovan capital
Pristina on Tuesday and put on a passenger train which was then locked.
They waited several hours without food and water before the train moved
- The train stopped at a field at the border
where Macedonian police herded the passengers together for processing
in the open air, where they waited in a cold drizzle. Macedonian police
said they expected further arrivals of refugees by train.
- The number of refugees crossing into
Albania from Kosovo was nearing 100,000 on Wednesday and the influx showed
no signs of letting up, OSCE monitors said.
- Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for the Tirana
office of the OSCE, said 18,000 ethnic Albanians had arrived in the past
- In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac
urged the European Union to coordinate a huge aid effort. Greek Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said he would fly to Albania on Wednesday to
help coordinate aid.
- In Vienna, diplomats said about 20 local
staff of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were missing,
in addition to one shot dead last week, since the pan-European security
group withdrew its international observers before the NATO air strikes.
- Belgrade says its forces in Kosovo are
merely responding to aggression by separatist ethnic Albanian guerrillas
and NATO, which it accuses of violating international law, sponsoring
terrorism and seeking to dismember Serbia. State-run media say the West
is lying about a humanitarian disaster in the province and that refugees
are fleeing NATO bombing, not Serb repression.