Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK

World: Europe

Kosovo exodus sparks aid crisis

Most refugees are women, children and pensioners

 Click here for live coverage on the crisis

Click here for map showing refugee movements

Kosovo: Special Report
Nato says Serb ethnic cleansing is ''reaching new heights'' as tens of thousands of refugees pour out of Kosovo, leaving aid agencies unable to cope with the deepening humanitarian crisis.

British Air Commodore, David Wilby, says Nato plans to intensify operations against Yugoslav forces in the coming days.

But Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov says his talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, aimed at ending the Nato strikes, have born fruit.

David Shukman examines the possibility of a Nato ground force
In Kosovo roads are reported to be clogged with fleeing civilians, many of whom have been forced from their homes at gunpoint.

More than 80,000 have arrived in the town on Kukes on the Kosovo-Albanian border in the past three days with stories of Serb atrocities. Others are streaming into Montenegro.

However, there are reports that the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia has sent back Kosovo refugees because it can no longer accommodate them.

And US State Department spokesman James Rubin warned: "There are indicators that genocide is unfolding in Kosovo. We can clearly say crimes against humanity are being committed by Milosevic's forces."

Russian diplomacy

BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Brian Hanrahan: Primakov may not have real solution
Mr Primakov's talks with Mr Milosevic in Belgrade lasted six hours. The Russian Prime Minister said the discussions had produced results, but did not comment further.

Mr Primakov is now in Bonn for talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and may continue to Brussels. His trip is the most significant diplomatic effort since Nato strikes began seven days ago.

But BBC Correspondent John Simpson says it is much too soon to think that this means the end of Nato attacks.

[ image: Refugee children await their fate]
Refugee children await their fate
The alliance itself has welcomed the peace initiative, but warned that the bombing will only stop if President Milosevic complies fully with the West's demands.

Russia, a traditional ally of the Serbs, has been one of the strongest critics of the air strikes, accusing Nato of genocide and demanding "an immediate halt" to the bombings.

Earlier, Russian President Boris Yeltsin condemned the West's action, but he said Russia would not be drawn into a military conflict in the Balkans.

Vatican initiative

Clarence Mitchell reports on the refugee influx into Northern Albania
Meanwhile, the Pope has summoned ambassadors from all the Nato countries - plus Russia and Yugoslavia - to a meeting at the Vatican. Church officials say the Pope wants to see a re-opening of diplomatic channels.

The BBC Rome Correspondent David Willey says the Pope is extremely concerned about the effects of continued Nato bombing, and believes his views are shared by public opinion in many Nato countries.


In Kosovo, the situation on the ground is worsening with reports of summary executions, round-ups and massive expulsions.

Nato officials say they are trying to confirm reports that the Serbs are now attacking a large number of refugees with artillery and tanks in the Pagarusa valley in central Kosovo.

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea: A modern-day Great Terror
The second city of Pec is understood to have been set on fire and almost destroyed.

There are also reports that several leading Kosovo Albanians have been executed - including Fehmi Agani, the main adviser of the Kosovo Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova.

Nato gave few details of the sixth night of air strikes, but said half the attacks were in Kosovo with most of the rest around Belgrade.

President Boris Yeltsin: Rough force does not solve anything
They admitted efforts to step up operations on Yugoslav forces in the province had been hampered by a run of bad weather, but expected an improvement shortly.

In a desperate race to halt the Serb military machine in Kosovo, Nato is mounting around-the-clock attacks and deploying special A-10 "tankbuster" planes.

The Pentagon says it is beefing up its air power, deploying five long-range B-1 bombers and five more EA-6B Prowler aircraft.

Nato is also investigating reports by an Australian aid agency that at least nine Serb refugees were killed when jets bombed two of its centres.

[ image:  ]

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

30 Mar 99 | UK
UK airlift for Kosovo refugees

30 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Ground troops: Why Nato says no

30 Mar 99 | Europe
Images of a mass exodus

30 Mar 99 | Europe
Pope urges Kosovo diplomacy

30 Mar 99 | Europe
Refugee horror goes on

30 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Primakov: Man in the middle

30 Mar 99 | UK Politics
UK steps up Kosovo force

30 Mar 99 | Europe
Press review: Struggling with Kosovo options

30 Mar 99 | UK
Harrier strikes halted by weather

29 Mar 99 | Europe
Horror stories from the borders

28 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Kosovo - the conflict on the Web

28 Mar 99 | Europe
Life under fire in Belgrade

Internet Links


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

International Crisis Group

Institute for War and Peace Reporting


Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosova Press

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift