Yeltsin threatens to send more aid to the Serbs

War in Bosnia: Russian leader demands end to Nato bombing and says Serbs did not carry out Sarajevo mortar attack

7HELEN WOMACK

Moscow

President Boris Yeltsin warned yesterday that Russia might give more than humanitarian aid to the Serbs if Nato persisted with what he called its "unacceptable" air strikes in Bosnia.

The West has dismissed his previous complaints as being intended to appease a domestic pro-Serb lobby. But Mr Yeltsin said he was addressing his remarks to an international news conference and expected the world to take them seriously.

Mr Yeltsin's spokesman later issued a statement demanding a halt to the Nato strikes because of doubts over who carried out the attack on Sarajevo which prompted them. "Russia insists that the United Nations look again at the situation in Bosnia in the light of new evidence on the blasts in the Muslim regions of Sarajevo,'' Sergei Medvedev said. ''Until then, Nato military action in Bosnia should be halted." Moscow's media has cited reports saying a Russian military official has evidence that the mortar attack on Sarajevo last week, in which 38 people were killed, was not carried out by Serbs.

Last night Russia called for a public UN Security Council debate on Nato's actions.

Speaking before the news from Geneva of a breakthrough in US-sponsored peace talks, Mr Yeltsin said Russia was changing its position because the situation had changed. "Before the Muslims were not so aggressive, before the Croats were not taking territory. Why are there no sanctions against them? Why are only the Serbs being punished?

"In future we will have to respond adequately and help the Serbs. I have already signed a decree on humanitarian aid. If these actions [air strikes] continue, then things will become hotter.''

Mr Yeltsin did not specify, however, what extra support he had in mind. Instead he called for an international peace conference which he said could be held in Moscow in October if other countries were interested.

Russia was a part of Europe, whose views the West ignored at its peril. The air strikes in Bosnia showed "what Nato is capable of", he said, reiterating his objection to the expansion of the Western alliance.

If Nato reached Russia's border, Cold War military blocs would be re- established and "the flame of war would burst out across the whole of Europe".

The German Defence Minister, Volker Ruhe, rejected this, saying: "It is the unnecessary language of confrontation. In Nato and in Europe, we are concerned with co-operation and not with threats."

Despite Mr Yeltsin's denial that he was playing to the home gallery, his rhetoric should be seen in the context of the campaign for parliamentary elections in December. Commun- ists and nationalists look likely to improve their strong position in the Duma (lower house) and the President has been obliged to absorb their ideas.

But he said he would take the necessary legal measures to make sure extremists who violated the constitution did not come to power and would encourage parties which advocated democracy and reform in Russia.

On the delicate subject of Chechnya, Mr Yeltsin said the region should abandon its hope of independence as "nobody can leave Russia".

He suggested his erstwhile political enemy, Ruslan Khasbulatov, an ethnicChechen, might have a role to play in the region. Mr Khasbulatov led the hardline uprising against Mr Yeltsin in October 1993. "I think he has become wiser over time," Mr Yeltsin said.

A step nearer to peace, page 17

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
Newcastle players celebrate, Mario Balotelli scores, Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers
footballNewcastle vs Liverpool , Arsenal vs Burnley, Chelsea vs QPR and Everton vs Swansea
News
i100Amazing Amazon review bomb
Arts and Entertainment
The Spice Girls' feminism consisted of shouting 'girl power' and doing peace signs in latex catsuits
musicWhat is it? You know what you want it to be...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
News
Moss and Grimshaw arrive at the party
peopleKate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Nick Grimshaw at Jonathan Ross's Halloween party
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
News
i100
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Travel
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities