War In The Balkans: Nato dismisses Yeltsin's threats West

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The Independent Online
THE UNITED States said yesterday that it expected Russia to honour its pledge not to become involved in the war in the Balkans, after suggestions that the Kremlin may be aiming missiles at Nato countries.

Conflicting reports came out of Moscow that Russia was pointing nuclear warheads at states bombing its Serbian ally and President Boris Yeltsin accused the West of planning to "seize" Yugoslavia. "They want to make it their protectorate, we cannot let that happen," he said. But Nato was unmoved by what it clearly regards as bluster designed for Mr Yeltsin'sdomestic audience. The alliance's supreme commander, General Wesley Clark, said there would be no halt to the air strikes.

Warning that the allies expected another peace initiative from Belgrade, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, said: "We will now only stop if [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic makes an offer of real substance that meets Nato's key demands - a ceasefire on the ground and a halt to ethnic cleansing."

According to a new estimate released by the Pentagon yesterday, four out of five Kosovo Albanians - 1.4m people - are now displaced. This leaves only 400,000 - or 20 per cent of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo - still in their homes.

The new figure more than doubles the number of Kosovars estimated to have been displaced since the start of the year and shows the scale of the exodus since Nato air strikes began

Full reports, pages 2-4;

Leading article, Fergal Keane, Review, page 3