Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 03:57 GMT
Nato bombs Serbia
Onslaught: USS Philippine Sea launches a cruise missile
Nato planes have returned to base after the first wave of air strikes against Serbia, fulfilling the West's threat to strike over the Kosovo crisis.
Despite Serb news reports that one alliance aircraft had been downed over Kosovo, the Pentagon said that all planes appear to have returned safely.
They added that there was "high confidence" that at least one Yugoslav MiG-29 fighter was shot down in air-to-air combat.
US defence officials said the attacks, the first against a sovereign country in Nato's 50-year history, began with air and sea-launched cruise missiles.
The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug is reporting that the country has declared a "state of war" against Nato.
Russia's President Boris Yeltsin, opposed to the action, has recalled the country's representative at Nato's Brussels headquarters.
He has also ordered a halt to all co-operation with the alliance.
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that Nato's actions were a violation of international law. The meeting ended without members passing a resolution.
BBC Correspondents and news agencies have reported explosions in Serbia and Montenegro including:
Correspondents in the Kosovo capital Pristina report:
In its first reports, Tanjug say that some family members of government forces have been killed.
The frequency of attacks slowed later in the evening and an all-clear was sounded in Belgrade at just before midnight local time.
An hour later the air raid siren was sounded again. Further explosions have been heard in Pristina.
The main Serb television channel showed pictures of what appeared to be a missile in flight and burning buildings. During the evening it showed a Second World War film.
During the evening, up to 20 journalists were arrested by Serbian police as they tried to film the attacks from the roof of a Belgrade hotel. Two BBC staff are be among the number detained.
'Full blown crisis'
Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana announced the beginning of the operation which is expected to pave the way for huge bombing raids on Serb targets by up to 400 Nato warplanes.
Four German Tornado jets provided cover for attacking aircraft, flying with the UK's RAF, the first time the country's military has been involved in combat in foreign territory since the Second World War.
Speaking shortly after the announcement of the attacks, President Bill Clinton said: ''Kosovo's crisis is now full blown,'' he said. ''If we don't act clearly it will get even worse.
"Only firmness now can prevent greater catastrophe later.''
Yugoslavia was placed on high alert after the government declared a state of emergency, including setting up air-raid shelters.
Thousands of Kosovo Albanians have been fleeing the latest Serb-led offensive, heading south into the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.
On Wednesday afternoon, Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic called on his people to be prepared to defend their country "by all means".
In a nationally televised address he warned them that "at stake is the freedom of the entire country".
"We shall defend the country if it is attacked," he said.
But blaming Yugoslav Government "intransigence", the Nato secretary-general has said Nato's quarrel was not with the Yugoslav people.