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Sunday, May 9, 1999 Published at 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK

Serb media defiant on Victory Day

Yugoslav soldiers honour their fallen comrades

As Yugoslavia marked Victory Day, the 54th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Serbian RTS TV told viewers on Sunday that morale was still overwhelmingly high in the Yugoslav armed forces.

Kosovo: Special Report

'Ready to defend the country'

A Serbian radio commentary said that on the anniversary "a new fascist order is on the march, led by the United States" .

According to an official poll conducted by the Yugoslav army, 96 percent of officers and men are still showing high motivation and a readiness to defend their country despite the Nato bombing campaign, the TV reported.

In the poll, published in the armed forces' magazine Vojska, a "representative sample" of 1,200 officers and men in all the services were questioned.

'Motivated and ready'

"Despite everything that has happened over the past 45 days of war, as many as 96 per cent of the officers and men of the Yugoslav army war units are demonstrating a high level of motivation and readiness to defend the freedom, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," the TV said.

"Despite the great destruction and suffering, the morale of the people and the army remains high and represents an insurmountable obstacle to the aggressor," the TV added.

Then and now

In a pointed reminder of the Soviet Union's help for the Yugoslav partisans in World War Two, the TV showed diplomats from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus attending a wreath-laying ceremony at a war memorial in Belgrade on Sunday.

Soldiers 'the most honourable in the world'

[ image: Yugoslavia remembers its WW II heroes]
Yugoslavia remembers its WW II heroes
Mira Markovic, the wife of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, praised the armed forces in remarks broadcast on Serbian radio.

"Our soldiers are the most honorable soldiers in the world . They are not only brave, but the entire world has always admitted, in all the wars fought so far, that they have this highly developed sense of honour ... I am not making it up. This is not just my opinion. This is our heritage," she said.

' War against the whole peace-loving world'

A commentary on Serbian radio lambasted Nato for Friday night's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, saying Nato had "thus started an undeclared war against the entire peace-loving world" .

"The Riders of the Apocalypse, embodied primarily in Clinton, Blair, Albright, Solana and their deranged generals, if not stopped, will lead the world into a cataclysm. What they have been doing is the consequence of their pathological and mental state," the radio said.

"Unfortunately, the UN Security Council failed to condemn this insane and barbaric act and the bombing of Yugoslavia. All they came up with was a cynical and watered-down expression of regret in a tepid statement.

"The sadistic bestialities of the Nato monster committed against civilians are marked by all the characteristics of a depraved and bloody orgy," the commentary went on.

Nato the 'new fascists'

"These warlords want to destroy any chance for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the problems of Kosmet [Kosovo and Metohija]. As the peace initiatives intensify, the more depraved and bloodier their orgy becomes. That is their response to the initiatives and moves made by Belgrade and Moscow, to the messages by US religious leader Jesse Jackson. They need war, not peace. For 47 days now they have been dropping tonnes of explosives with insane abandon." The radio said the "new fascists" were "leading the world into a cataclysm" .

"Today, as we mark 9th May, the day of victory over fascism, we unfortunately have to conclude that a new fascist order is on the march, led by the United States.

"The peace-loving and freedom-loving part of the world is expected to stop this new fascist beast. What is encouraging is that the warlords do not even have the support of their own citizens, apart from in Britain and Turkey, for what they have been doing to Serbia and Yugoslavia."

The bombing of the Chinese Embassy

Serbian radio described as "shameless" the explanation given by Nato spokesman Jamie Shea for the embassy bombing.

"How little the Nato war machine cares about avoiding civilian suffering is best illustrated by the statement of its spokesman, who said that the military operations against Yugoslavia would be continued," the radio said.

Fighting in Kosovo

The Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug on Sunday reported heavy Nato bombing of the Djakovica area of western Kosovo and clashes between Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas and Serb forces there.

Tanjug said Nato unleashed some 20 missiles and cluster bombs on the Djakovica area between 0400GMT and 0700GMT on Sunday, targeting "almost the whole of the border area" .

"The missiles damaged mainly civilian houses. Following the fierce bombardment by the criminal alliance, columns of Albanians living in the area were seen fleeing in the direction of the border crossing," Tanjug said.

The agency reported that "terrorist gangs" at the same time attacked Serb police and Yugoslav army units in Djakovica, " on the orders of their `commander' Hashim Thaci, broadcast by the Albanian media" .

"In an attempt to protect civilians, the police inflicted losses on the Shiptar [Albanian] terrorists, among whom there were many mujahedin and other mercenaries," Tanjug said.

BBC Monitoring based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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