War In Europe: Timetable A week of conflict: `This will not be a short campaign'

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Indy Lifestyle Online
SUNDAY 28 MARCH

Nato orders "Phase II" of its operation, directing attacks on Yugoslav army and special police units. Europe braces itself for mass exodus of Kosovar refugees. Italy gets ready to send naval ships to ferry refugees from Albania. Thousands demonstrate around the world against Nato action.

MONDAY 29 MARCH

Nato threatens death from the skies if Serbian troops and police do not pull back above the 44th parallel. There are reports that Serbian forces are committing "genocide" in Kosovo, exterminating the province's intelligentsia, possibly including members of the Albanian delegation to the Rambouillet peace talks. Thousands of refugees leaving Kosovo are stripped of identification cards and car number plates on the borders to ensure they never return.

TUESDAY 30 MARCH

The Russian Prime Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, goes to Belgrade for talks with Slobodan Milosevic, who promises to reduce his forces in Kosovo and allow refugees to return, after the Nato bombardment ends. Nato leaders reject the proposal immediately. The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, says Mr Milosevic's proposals "fall far short of what is required".

WEDNESDAY 31 MARCH

Serb forces turn Kosovo's capital, Pristina, into a ghost city, herding tens of thousands of Albanians out of Kosovo by road and in sealed trains. Nato's Supreme Commander, General Wesley Clark, says the latest phase of air strikes include targeting Serbian government buildings in the centre of Belgrade. Figures suggest that up to 36,000 Yugoslav troops are now in Kosovo. Russia announces plans to dispatch a reconnaissance ship to the Adriatic.

THURSDAY 1 APRIL

Three US soldiers, patrolling the border with Macedonia, are captured by Serb forces. They are paraded on Serb television and the Yugoslav government announces that they will appear before a court martial. A second propaganda victory is won by the Serbs as the ethnic Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova, appears with Mr Milosevic in Belgrade, agreeing there should be a "political" solution. Pressure to introduce Nato ground troops to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo is rejected again by Nato spokesmen.

FRIDAY 2 APRIL

Macedonia says the refugee exodus is overwhelming and calls on the international community to move faster to help. Some 14,000 Kosovar refugees flood into impoverished northern Albania, swelling their numbers to around 130,000. An official from the Serbian provisional government in Kosovo says an investigation into the case of the three captured US soldiers has begun. Nato spokesmen acknowledge air strikes so far are failing to stop Serb forces from eradicating ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

SATURDAY 3 APRIL

Nato takes the war to the heart of Belgrade as cruise missiles hit the Serb and Yugoslav interior ministries. Amid reports of doubts and recriminations of its policy within senior ranks, Nato spokesmen stress that the campaign will continue and that "this will not be a short campaign". The West admits it is failing to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe. Up to 250,000 Kosovar Albanians are believed to have fled since Nato action began 10 days ago. Russia's reconnaissance ship reaches Turkey's Bosporus strait.

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