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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK


History damaged by bombs

Serbian government building after a Nato strike

Serbia's state news agency has been highlighting the damage caused by the Nato campaign to many cultural and artistic monuments and historical sites in Belgrade.

Tanjug said: "Belgrade, a city of monuments, whose walls have survived under a myriad of civilisations for 7,000 years, has never suffered worse destruction than it has been subjected to by Nato."

It said the damaged buildings included:

  • The 16th-century Rakovica Monastery, the burial site of some of the key figures in Serbia's history and a valuable repository of Serbian gold artefacts and icons.
  • The Serbian Government building, built in 1928.
  • The Foreign Ministry building, which was built in 1929 and decorated with sculptures and relief works. Its cupola was adorned with the figure of a woman embodying Yugoslavia.

A series of architecturally-important modern buildings housing Yugoslav Army premises had been demolished in several weeks of the air offensive, the agency said.

Kosovo: Special Report
It also listed as damaged the Justice Ministry building, the Radio and Television building, the Children's Culture Centre, the Dusko Radovic Theatre, and the 1960s-built Belgrade TV centre.

The agency said that churches and cultural landmarks had not been spared, with the Russian Church, the Serbian Historical Museum, and the Church of St Peter and Paul suffering varying degrees of structural damage.

'Mushroom clouds'

Serbian radio reported that Nato planes fired eight missiles at the Novi Sad oil refinery on Monday afternoon, leaving the plant in flames and thick clouds of black smoke over parts of the city.

The station said that, by targeting power-generation plants and oil refineries, Nato was "trying to cause a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe of major proportions".

Belgrade Radio said the Ponikve airfield, near Uzice, was also targeted. It reported "two large mushroom clouds rose high in the sky".

And Beta news agency reported Nato attacked a transmitter in the southern city of Nis but the missile "missed its target".

The agency also reported that the Interior Ministry in Belgrade had been targeted and four "very strong explosions" had been heard in Sabac, 40 miles west of Belgrade.

Belgrade radio and TV also reported attacks in Kosovo, where the Glogovac, Stimlje, Prizren, Klina, and Lipljan areas were attacked.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), 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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