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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 16:44 GMT


World: Europe

'Comply or be destroyed'

Pristina awoke to air raid sirens and flames

Nato commander General Wesley Clark has issued a stern warning to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to toe the line or face the destruction of Yugoslavia's armed forces.

Kosovo: Special Report
"We are going to systematically and progressively attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate and ultimately, unless President Milosevic complies with the demands of the international community, we are going to destroy these forces and their facilities and support," he said.

The supreme allied commander in Europe told a news conference in Brussels that at least 40 targets were struck in the first night of attacks and said three Yugoslav planes were destroyed, one of them by a Dutch Nato fighter.


The BBC's Fergus Nicoll: "Nato is talking tough"
General Clark said he had phoned Yugoslav military officials to warn them against sending their navy into the Adriatic.

The Yugoslav navy "must remain in port. They must not come forth in the Adriatic or they will be treated as hostile forces," he said.


[ image:  ]
He reaffirmed that Nato had no intention of using its ground forces.

Earlier, US Defence Secretary William Cohen warned that the bombing campaign against Serb targets will intensify and said Mr Milosevic still had "an opportunity to pursue the path of peace".

Yugoslav resistance


George Robertson at a Defence Ministry news conference
In Yugoslavia, President Slobodan Milosevic has congratulated his air force and air-defence units for "resistance to the aggression of the Nato forces" after a night of attacks, state news agency Tanjug reported.


[ image:  ]
Reuter news agency reported that a decree was issued on Wednesday evening putting the whole Serbian republic on a war footing and there has been no sign of any backing down in statements by officials and ministers.

BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus says analysts believe Mr Milosevic may be husbanding his resources for what could be a prolonged struggle.

Journalists expelled


Jacky Rowland assesses the decision to expel journalists
There is uncertainty about the future of foreign journalists in Serbia after the Serbian authorities issued a statement ordering the immediate expulsion of all reporters who come from Nato countries.

The statement was signed by the Serbian Information Minister, Aleksandr Vucic, who said their reporting was helping the aggressive acts of Nato.

However, shortly afterwards, the Federal Yugoslav Information Minister, Milan Komnencic, told foreign journalists in Belgrade that they were all welcome to stay.


Orla Guerin describes how the Serbian authorities have harrassed journalists
The BBC's Orla Guerin is among the the journalists already expelled from Kosovo, after being rounded up at gunpoint with other journalists in her hotel in Pristina in the early hours. She crossed into the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia this morning.

'Ten civilians killed'


[ image:  ]
The western military alliance began Operation Allied Force at around 1900 GMT on Wednesday - saying its goal was to deter President Milosevic from further attacks on Kosovo Albanian civilians.

In Yugoslavia's first official estimate of casualties, Information Minister Goran Matic said 10 civilians had been killed in last night's Nato raids. Mr Matic said another 60 were injured. He declined to give any details of Yugoslav military casualties.


Kate Adie was on board the USS Gonzales for the first wave of attacks
The Yugoslav army said 40 targets were hit in three hours including five airports, five barracks, communications and command positions.

National television broadcast pictures of burning buildings throughout the country and what were reported to be victims in hospital.

Onslaught makes history


[ image:  ]
During the night, the Belgrade sky was lit up with tracer fire from anti-aircraft batteries in what was the first attack on a European capital since 1945.

All-clear sirens sounded as dawn broke in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade and a semblance of normal life began to return.

In Kosovo's regional capital, Pristina, power has been restored after a complete black-out on Wednesday night but water supplies are still not back.

Russian warnings

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has warned that the US would be held to account for Nato air strikes against Yugoslavia.


[ image: Casualties: Those said to be injured shown on Serb TV]
Casualties: Those said to be injured shown on Serb TV
"Nato's aggression against Yugoslavia is a gross mistake by American diplomacy and Clinton, and they at the end will be held to account for it," Mr Yeltsin said in a statement reported on the Interfax news agency.

In an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council, Russia and China led condemnations of Nato's action, describing it as a violation of international law.


Jacky Rowland describes a surprisingly normal scene today after bombardments the night before
President Yeltsin recalled Russia's representative at Nato's Brussels headquarters and ordered a halt to all co-operation with the alliance.

In an earlier address to the American people, President Bill Clinton said that the western allies had to fulfil a moral imperative over Kosovo.

"If President Slobodan Milosevic will not make peace, we will limit his ability to make war," he said.
[ image:  ]





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