Operations from day to day
After the last of 40,000 Serb forces left Kosovo, NATO received confirmation that all troops had withdrawn to beyond the 3-mile "ground safety zone" along the Kosovo border. NATO Secretary General Solana officially terminated Operation Allied Force.
Day 79 - Thursday, June 10, 1999
NATO's air campaign was suspended. See statement by Secretary General Solana.
A total of 399 sorties were flown, with the main emphasis on reconnaissance and air patrol missions. Over the last 24 hours, NATO flew 443 sorties, including 60 strike sorties and 22 SEAD sorties (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense).
Yugoslav army convoys converged on Pristina to begin to withdraw from Kosovo. The UN Security Council authorized a security force to enter Kosovo to restore peace. NATO ceased its air attacks and was expected to terminate the operations formally later, after all Serb troops are outside Kosovo. NATO planes continued to fly over Kosovo without dropping ordnance. The Serbs were given eleven days to pull out.
Milosvic said only 462 soldiers and 114 police had been killed in the fighting. NATO estimates the Yugoslav deaths at 5,000. State-run media said 2,000 civilians were killed.
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said that as long as Milosevic is in charge "Serbia should not expect reconstruction aid from the United States".
Day 78 - Wednesday, June 9, 1999
Peace talks in Macedonia continued. The Serbs demanded what they referred to as a "synchronized" withdrawal of Serb forces and the deploying of international peace keepers. Some newspapers interpreted this as Belgrade refusing to pull its forces out of the province until the Security Council approved a resolution authorizing the deployment of 50,000 peacekeepers. China and Russia repeatedly stated they would refuse unless NATO stopped its air campaign. NATO refused. Targets in Kosovo were attacked overnight.
Finally, NATO and Yugoslav military leaders signed a pact. In an air campaign that lasted 78 days NATO planes flew over 35,000 missions over Yugoslavia.
Over the past 24 hours, NATO flew 523 air missions, including 130 strike sorties and 56 SEAD sorties.
At first, Russia did not agree on three points of the draft resolution. Russia insisted that the peacekeeping operation, designed to protect returning refugees under UN auspices, have less military authority to act.
- Whether NATO is the core of the peacekeeping force.
- Whether to adopt a declaration of an international need for cooperation with war crimes tribunals.
- Rules for peacekeepers that include taking robust measures to ensure peace.
NATO insisted to be at the core of the operation and that the United Nations would authorize the force under Chapter 7 of its charter, which deals with breaches of peace and is militarily enforceable. Yugoslavia, Russia and China preferred Chapter 6, which allows "pacific settlement of disputes."
Later, all eight countries agreed on the draft resolution. It was agreed that NATO was not mentioned in the text itself. An annex said "substantial NATO participation must be deployed under unified command and control". China immediately demanded NATO would stop its air strikes.
Day 77 - Tuesday, June 8, 1999
NATO stepped up the air strikes in an attempt to persuade Milosvic to accept all NATO terms for peace. In a 24-hour period, NATO flew 658 total missions, of which 222 strike missions and 65 SEAD missions. The strikes were almost exclusively against Serb army forces in southwestern Kosovo, where they were in fierce battles with the KLA. The strikes included raids with B-52 bombers. The Yugoslav air defense fired on NATO planes.
The KLA said it would not attack departing Serb forces.
In Bonn, Germany, the G8 countries agreed on a draft UN Security Council resolution implementing a Kosovo peace deal.
Day 76 - Monday, June 7, 1999
NATO flew 483 sorties, including 142 strike and 61 SEAD sorties.
The US said Yugoslav military leaders attending talks in Macedonia had failed to give NATO commanders an adequate plan for the withdrawal of Serb troops from Kosovo. NATO's bombing campaign would continue until they did. The Serbs said they would be willing to withdraw only to "peace time" levels, or about 15,000. NATO said only a small symbolic force of a few hundred troops could stay.
The G8 countries were discussing the text for a UN Security Council resolution.
Day 75 - Sunday, June 6, 1999
NATO spelled out the details for the Serb withdrawal, but very little progress was reported and the talks dragged on. In the mean time, heavy air strikes were reported in Kosovo. The talks were moved to Kumanovo, near Skopje, Macedonia. The NATO delegation was led by British Lt Gen Michael Jackson — commander of the 15,000 to 16,000 NATO troops in Macedonia — and the Serb delegation was led by Gen Svetozar Marjanovic — deputy chief of staff of the Yugoslav army.
Serb forces stepped up their activity near the border of Albania. NATO increased the intensity of its air strikes in the area.
NATO flew 431 missions in a 24-hour period, striking mainly Serb forces in Kosovo using B-52 bombers. Of those missions, 95 were strike and 58 were SEAD missions. So far, allied planes flew more than 31,000 missions. Some 1,000 allied planes were used, including all three of the USAF's long-range bombers (B-52, B-1, and B-2) simultaneously for the first time.
Day 74 - Saturday, June 5, 1999
NATO carried on with its air attacks overnight, focusing on the forces in Kosovo responsible for the campaign to expel ethnic Albanians from the province.
Serb forces shelled several villages in Albania from Kosovo. Eight shells exploded in Kruma, nine miles north of Kukes and about five miles west of the Yugoslav border. So far, there were no signs of Serb troops withdrawing from Kosovo, two days after Milosevic accepted the peace plan. NATO wanted evidence of Serb forces pulling out, not just an agreement. The air campaign continued.
In the past 24 hours, NATO flew 536 sorties, of which 113 strike sorties and 69 SEAD sorties.
The White House said Russia's participation in a peacekeeping force remained an "open question". Extensive talks were held between NATO and Serb commanders with regards to the withdrawal of Serb forces.
Day 73 - Friday, June 4, 1999
NATO aircraft artillery pieces, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and anti-aircraft artillery pieces. Also hit were ammunition storage sites at Novi Pazar, Boljevac and Kursumlija, a petroleum storage site at Sombor, a railway petroleum loading facility at Leskovac, and a Serb special police headquarters at Kula Milicija. The airfield at Ponikve was hit. Other targets were an AM radio broadcast station at Srbobran and TV/FM broadcast stations at Pirot and Kapaonik.
In a 24-hour period, NATO flew 610 sorties, of which 234 strike sorties.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said NATO would continue its bombing campaign until Milosevic started a "verifiable withdrawal" of his forces from Kosovo. US president Clinton expressed skepticism; Milosevic has broken promises many times in the past. US Air Force Maj Gen Charles Wald said: "Until there's agreement, they're a military target". The Kosovo Liberation Army indicated they would be willing to disarm.
Acceptance of the peace terms presented to Milosevic by Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Ahtisaari effectively means the Yugoslav government capitulated on all Western demands to end the crisis. Observers noted that had Milosevic accepted the Rambouillet agreement before the bombing started in March, he would have been allowed to keep more than 10,000 troops in Kosovo.
Britain announced that it would send another 4,000 soldiers to the Balkans as part of the Yugoslavia peace deal, in addition to more than 15,000 already in Macedonia. A detachment of 2,200 US Marines were en route to Greece for possible use in Kosovo. The US Army already had 5,000 soldiers in Albania. Russia said it might contribute 5,000 troops.
G8 officials agreed to a draft UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo.
Under the peace plan, the military and civilian operations in Kosovo were expected to be deployed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, giving the mission the imprimatur of international law and enable it to act independently of Milosevic's government.
Day 72 - Thursday, June 3, 1999
An MUP Headquarters at Kula Milicija was struck, as well as radio and TV relay sites. Other targets included ammunition storage facilities, petroleum storage sites.
NATO flew 610 sorties, including 234 strike and 74 SEAD missions.
After 72 days Milosevic capitulated to NATO demands for a withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo and safe passage home for refugees. The possible agreement was reached during talks with Russian special envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.
Serbia's parliament — controlled by Slobodan Milosevic — overwhelmingly approved a Western-backed peace plan for Kosovo. The peace plan included:
- quick and verifiable withdrawal of Yugoslav army and Serbian police forces from Kosovo
- deployment to Kosovo of an "efficient", well-armed — force "with essential NATO participation" and under "unified control and command"
- "substantial autonomy" for the (mostly ethnic Albanian) people of Kosovo
Day 71 - Wednesday, June 2, 1999
In Belgrade, an electrical power transmission tower was hit.
In the previous 24 hours, allied planes flew 575 sorties, including 197 strike sorties and 70 SEAD sorties.
The US announced the addition of 68 extra aircraft, including 12 F-16s and two squadrons of F-15E attack planes. It was assumed that these aircraft would operate from Turkey. This increase was part of a 176-aircraft increase approved on May 6.
The Clinton administration said it would not object to adoption of a resolution by the United Nations to endorse the peacekeeping plan after a settlement to protect returning refugees.
Russian mediator Viktor Chernomyrdin and President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland headed to Belgrade. Chernomyrdin said that NATO troops of the Kosovo Force (or KFOR) would be under NATO command and Russian troops would be controlled by Russia. NATO rejected the idea of distinct NATO and Russian occupation zones. In case of a peace deal, the 15,000 NATO troops in Macedonia would be doubled to 30,000. This triggered concern of Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, asking for assurances that the country would not become the staging ground for an invasion of Yugoslavia.
The World Court on rejected a request by Yugoslavia for an immediate cease-fire in NATO's air campaign by a ruling of 12-4.
Day 70 - Tuesday, June 1, 1999
In Belgrade and Nis, electricity plants were attacked. In Belgrade major army barracks was hit, as well as a military compound in Pancevo, southeast of Belgrade, and a SAM support facility. Pristina was hit, and in Smederevo a transformer station and an oil depot was struck. The airfields of Batajnica and Pristina were hit. Other targets included ammunition storage sites, petroleum storage sites, and radio and TV relay sites in eight different cities.
In Nis, four Serb soldiers were sentenced to four years and ten months imprisonment for not returning to their units, that were under NATO attack. There were growing reports on desertion.
Yugoslavia's Third Army commander said nearly 1,800 out of 180,000 of his troops were killed during the NATO air campaign. He said "We have accepted all the G-8 principles — of course with alterations regarding the departure of the army and police troops from Kosovo and the presence of an international peace mission."
In a letter Belgrade — demanding a pause in the bombing — referred to the peacekeeping force as "a United Nations presence, mandate and other elements to be decided by a UN Security Council resolution in accordance with the United Nations charter".
NATO rejected the plan for the makeup of a peacekeeping force in Kosovo. The US expressed skepticism and reiterated NATO must be at the core of any peacekeeping force. Also, the G8 demands did not mention the withdrawal of all Serb forces, as NATO demanded.
Russia's Balkans envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, met German Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.
Alliance officials acknowledged that intense air attacks failed to significantly reduce the number of Serb troops in Kosovo or stop the brutal expulsion of ethnic Albanians.
NATO military planners met in Brussels to determine how many troops each country could contribute. Earlier, it was agreed that total troops strength would be 50,000.
Day 69 - Monday, May 31, 1999
NATO struck an electrical power transmission tower near Belgrade, several army barracks in different cities including Belgrade, the border posts at Burovik, Dunavo, Slavujevac, and Presevo. Also hit were military storage areas, a command bunker at Avala, command posts in Novi Sad and Rakovica, highway bridges, ammunition storage sites, petroleum storage sites, and the airfields in Nis and Ponikve. In Stubline, Sremska Karlovci, and Zarkovo radio communication sites were hit. Also hit were radio and TV broadcast and relay stations in eight cities.
Serb media claimed that NATO missiles hit a hospital and a retirement home, but NATO could not confirm the attack. US A-10 attack planes struck Serb forces clashing with ethnic Albanian rebels in the hills along Kosovo's border with Albania.
Over the last 24 hours, NATO planes flew 772 sorties, including 323 strike and 92 SEAD missions.
The Yugoslav government said they were prepared to accept the terms set forth by the Group of Eight to end the Kosovo conflict. However, NATO said there still was no evidence he was willing to make the key concessions necessary to end the bombing campaign. NATO demanded its troops were to form the core of the military force in Kosovo. Critics said Milosevic was trying to force a compromise with NATO, with public support fading in some of the allied nations.
Milo Djukanovic, president of Montenegro, said Milosevic abandoned the idea of attempting to defeat NATO and became more realistic about the Kosovo crisis. Russian envoy Chernomyrdin called for a mixed peacekeeping force under the flag of the UN, with troops from NATO countries that did not participate in the campaign and Russia. Presence of NATO countries that participated in the campaign, would be restricted to Albania and Macedonia. The plan seemed to contain evidence of an increasing Yugoslav acceptance of a NATO role, allowing NATO verification flights. Also, the commander would be of a neutral country, but the chief of staff would be from NATO.
Day 68 - Sunday, May 30, 1999
Allied jets struck tanks, the airfields at Ponikve and Sjenicza, and petroleum storage facilities at the major Batajnica air base northwest of Belgrade. The electricity grid was also hit, including the Drmno power plant, 40 miles east of Belgrade, and a plant at Bajina Basta in western Serbia. In Novi Sad missiles struck near the already wrecked building of state-run Serbian television.
NATO hit a bridge crossing the Velika Morava River near Krisevac. Serb media claimed 12 civilians died.
In the previous 24-hour period, NATO performed 639 sorties, of which 218 strike sorties and 78 SEAD sorties.
Russia's foreign minister accused NATO of not taking Russia's role in peace negotiations seriously enough. In a statement, Yugoslavia said it wanted the UN Security Council to handle the entire problem. The Washington Post wrote this might suggest that Milosevic may be more willing than previously to accept whatever the Security Council might suggest to end the crisis. It would not be likely for Russia and China to accept any proposal that Yugoslavia is not willing to accept. Both countries have vetoes in the Security Council. NATO repeated earlier statements, saying all of the alliance's demands must be met.
Day 67 - Saturday, May 29, 1999
The US announced plans to move another 48 fighter jets and 20 tanker aircraft to the Balkans, bringing the NATO air fleet in the region to 1,089 planes.
Day 66 - Friday, May 28, 1999
NATO struck four airfields, six ammunition storage sites, petroleum storage sites and radio communications stations. Also struck were four electrical transmission towers and two transformer yards near Belgrade.
A US A-10A was fired upon by a Serbian SAM missile but returned safely to its air base. The USAF said that 5 to 10 US aircraft have been fired upon.
Russia's Balkan envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin again urged NATO to pause the campaign. The US said the Russian only represented Moscow — not the alliance. Strobe Talbott, the deputy US secretary of state, said "I do not see Mr. Chernomyrdin as taking our message to Belgrade." Chernomyrdin said conditions were discussed of a pullout of Yugoslav army and police troops from Kosovo and the introduction of an international contingent under the United Nations.
Day 65 - Thursday, May 27, 1999
Powerfull explosions were reported in the New Belgrade area and in Rakovica. Serb media said 53 missiles hit Belgrade. Ammunition storage facilities were hit near Kursumlija, Pristina, Novi Pazar, and Boljevac. Several tv relay sites were hit near Krstac, Kacanik, Stara Pazova, and Ruma. Five airfileds were attacked: Pristina, Ponikve, Batajnica, Obrva, and Nis.
In the previous 24-hour period, NATO flew a record 741 sorties, of which 308 strike sorties and 74 SEAD sorties.
Tanjug said NATO struck the ministry building in New Belgrade that coordinates imports and exports of weapons, but the missiles did not explode. This was the building NATO was after when it accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy on May 8.
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic told a key UN envoy that his country continued to reject the deployment of foreign troops in Kosovo.
Some 6,000 US air force personnel who already had approval to retire or leave for civilian jobs before the end of the year must stay in the service, indicating that the air force is doing the "heavy lifting" of the campaign. The policy had last been used in the Persian Gulf War. The US Air Force contributed to operations with 717 planes.
Day 64 - Wednesday, May 26, 1999
NATO launched its most extensive air strike yet. Pristina and Novi Sad were attacked. A previously destroyed oil depot in Prahovo, on the Romanian border, and a power station in Bor, in eastern Serbia, came under renewed attacks, Serb media said. Allied planes truck army barracks in Sabac, Pec, Novi Pasar and Pirot, and ammunition storage sites in Pristina, Novi Pazar and Kursumlija. Petroleum storage sites were bombed at Leskovac, Bor and Prahovo. Several radio relay stations were hit throughout the country. Also, Milosevic's villa — just west of Belgrade — was targeted again.
In the previous 24-hour period, NATO planes flew 650 sorties, of which74 SEAD sorties and a record 284 strike sorties. The total number of sorties reached 27,110, of which 7,535 strike sorties and 2,487 SEAD sorties.
State-run Serbian television, meanwhile, went off the air permanently on the satellite link.
CNN reported that president Milosvic's indictment by the UN war crimes tribunal was imminent.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said a temporary suspension could promote diplomacy and eventual approval of a UN Security Council resolution on a settlement.
Day 63 - Tuesday, May 25, 1999
NATO struck the abandoned Serb police headquarters in Belgrade and a villa of President Slobodan Milosevic. On Mount Cer — 60 miles west of Belgrade — a key communication transmitter was attacked, as was the Batajnica military airport northwest of Belgrade, and a large underground military complex in the suburb of Rakovica
The North Atlantic Council approved a plan to double the proposed Kosovo peacekeeping force — Joint Guarantor — to roughly 50,000 troops and position them to go into action as soon as Serb forces withdraw.
For days, citizens of Krusevac and several central Serbian towns have been demonstrating against the war and protesting service of their male relatives in Kosovo.
Day 62 - Monday, May 24, 1999
Explosions were reported in Nis, near a refinery and power station. Two missiles hit the Kostolac power plant, 20 miles east of Belgrade. In large areas of Belgrade electricity could not be restored. Fifteen NATO bombs hit water pumps near the northwestern town of Sremska Mitrovica. NATO also attacked the Belgrade Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In the previous 24 hours, NATO planes flew 554 sorties, including 175 strike sorties and 63 SEAD sorties.
Russia's Balkans envoy said he persuaded Western countries to allow Yugoslavia to leave some troops in Kosovo as part of any potential peace deal.
Day 61 - Sunday, May 23, 1999
NATO struck again at Belgrade's electrical power supply, attacking a power plant outside the Yugoslav capital. Other targets included tanks, artillery and parked aircraft, a command post and communications facilities, and ammunition and oil stocks.
Germany's foreign minister held talks with the US Secretary of State on possible new diplomatic approaches to end the conflict. Germany was concerned NATO might lose moral ground with incidents causing civilian casualties.
NATO said that some 26,000 sorties were flown over Yugoslavia, and some 15,000 bombs or missiles were released. The alliance estimated that its mistake rate was less than 1 percent.
Day 60 - Saturday, May 22, 1999
NATO blacked out 16 cities, using graphite bombs Amongst which were Belgrade, Smederevo, Pozarevac, Pancevo, Sabac, Uzice, Valjevo, Kraljevo, Cacak and Nis. Also struck were a fuel depot in Belgrade's Cukarica district, the Batajnica military airfield northwest of Belgrade, a television transmitter on Mount Fruska Gora. In Sombor, a fuel depot and an industrial zone were targeted. In Kolubara, 20 miles southwest of Belgrade, one of Milosevic's residences was struck. In Kosovo, Serb military equipment and tanks were attacked. Also hit were ammunitions dumps and army barracks.
Near Tropoja, NATO attacked a stronghold of the KLA by mistake. The position was seized by the KLA more than a month ago. One KLA fighter was killed.
NATO said it was the most intensive day in the campaign. In improved weather, a total of 684 sorties were flown, including 245 strike sorties and 90 SEAD sorties.
Eighteen US F/A-18 fighters arrived at an air base in the southern Hungarian town Taszar.
The United States said it has reports of large-scale desertions by Yugoslav army reservists and anti-war demonstrations by soldiers. Yugoslavia said the troops were part of the troop reduction in Kosovo.
Day 59 - Friday, May 21, 1999
NATO bombed a security complex in Istok, in northwestern Kosovo. Fuel depots near Belgrade and Sombor were attacked.
Day 58 - Thursday, May 20, 1999
NATO hit the airfields near Pristina and Batajnica, a radio relay site at Loznica, military communication stations at Belgrade and Stara Pazova, broadcast facilities near Serboran, Subotica, and Kula. Army facilities were hit near Gnjilane, Belgrade, and Istok, as well as an ammunitions plant in Baric. Also hit were oil depots at Sombor and Batajnica.
NATO aircraft flew 446 sorties, including 188 strike sorties and 35 SEAD sorties.
The US Air Force began using low-flying, heavily armed AC-130 Spectre gunships to rake Serb troops and armor in Kosovo with artillery and cannon fire.
The UK pressed the US to back preparations for sending ground troops into Kosovo. Germany, France and Italy oppose sending in ground troops.
Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin briefed US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari on his talks with Milosevic in Belgrade. Milosevic still opposed pulling out all of his forces and the presence of an international force. Little progress was made.
NATO said that some 500 Serb soldiers from the 7th Armoured Brigade in Kosovo deserted.
Day 57 - Wednesday, May 19, 1999
Belgrade was amongst the targets. The embassies of Sweden, Norway, and Spain were damaged when a laser-guided bomb — eight were aimed at army barracks — overshot its target and hit a hospital. Sweden protested to NATO. Also struck were a fuel depot 100 miles northwest of Belgrade, a meteorological station, a bridge across the Begej River north of Belgrade and as the Batajnica military airfield just outside the city. The airport near Pristina was attacked. The town of Gnjilane — 25 miles southeast of Pristina — was attacked, as well as the cities of Pec and Raska, that apparently was struck with missiles.
Britain said it planned on withdrawing its aircraft carrier HMS Invincible from the NATO fleet off Yugoslavia and replace its largely defensive air wing with 12 Tornado jets from bases in Germany. They will operate from the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean. Britain will also move the helicopter training ship HMS Argus into the Adriatic, to assist in relief efforts.
Tanjug said Serb forces shot down an unmanned NATO reconnaissance plane near Talinovce, near Pristina.
Due to the weather conditions, allied jets flew 425 sorties, of which 58 strike sorties and 28 SAED sorties.
Russia's special Balkans envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, flew into Belgrade for seven hours of talks with Milosevic. Earlier, he held talks in Helsinki, Finland. This country was mentioned as a possible key player in negotiations. The Yugoslav president said he accepted "principles" of a Kosovo peace plan. However, the issue of ground troops still remained a question. Yugoslavia would only accept a small, unarmed UN force in Kosovo. NATO insisted all of its five demands should be met unconditionally, including total withdrawal of Serb forces, a well armed security force with NATO at its core, and the return of nearly 800,000 refugees. NATO's demands match those of the G-8 countries. China still wanted NATO to stop bombing before discussing a peace plan. Some allies said a ground force ought to be prepared to move even before Belgrade signs on to a peace deal. The British were in favor of a ground force, the Germans were not. Germany said the NATO air campaign is working.
Day 56 - Tuesday, May 18, 1999
NATO missiles severed the main Belgrade-Nis highway and allied jets struck a military airport. Six bombs slammed into Mount Fruska Gora, near Novi Sad. The city of Nis was attacked. Bad weather forced NATO to cancel some missions. Highway bridges at Popovac, Bare, and Durakovac were hit. a TV/FM transmitter at Kopaonik was destroyed. Strikes destroyed three helicopters on the ground west of Pristina, along with a MiG-29 and MiG-21 on the ground at Batajnica airfield. One SA-6 surface to air missile transporter/launcher was also struck, along with a surface to air missile storage facility.
In a 24-hour period, 566 sorties were flown, of which 190 strike sorties and 62 SEAD sorties.
It seemed unlikely that US AH-64 attack helicopters would be used in combat anytime soon. President Clinton suggested the risk to pilots is too great. With improving weather, the A-10 attack plane would be a better choice. The Pentagon said an allied peace enforcing force for Kosovo would be in the range of 45,000 or 50,000, instead of the 28,000 planned for earlier.
For the first time, US President Clinton indicated that he would consider dispatching ground troops if the air campaign would not succeed. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder dismissed any notion of altering allied strategy on using ground forces.
The Pentagon said Turkey would contribute 18 fighter jets.
Two Serb privates held as prisoners of war by the US military were flown from Mannheim, Germany, to the Hungarian capital Budapest, where they were taken to Hungary's border with Yugoslavia and turned over to Yugoslav authorities.
President Milosevic said he is ready to "cut a deal" if NATO bombings would stop and as long as Yugoslavia's "territorial integrity" is preserved, meaning no independence for Kosovo.
Day 55 - Monday, May 17, 1999
NATO canceled most of the flights because of poor weather. Only 83 strike sorties (out of a total of 343) were carried out over southwest Kosovo. A small number of Serb armor, military vehicles and artillery positions were struck. The airfield at Sjenica was also struck.
Yugoslav troops blocked the eastern border with Albania. Kosovo Albanian refugees in Montenegro were prevented from entering Albania. Men were separated and taken away.
Day 54 - Sunday, May 16, 1999
NATO planes struck six tanks, armored vehicles and troop concentrations. The city of Prizren was struck.
Turkish television reported that Turkish F-16s would be starting to fly strike missions. So far, Turkish aircraft have only flown support on combat missions.
Yugoslavia protested that intensive NATO bombing was obstructing their partial withdrawal from Kosovo. The complaint was dismissed by NATO. The alliance said there was no evidence of any of the estimated 40,000 Serb troops and special police withdrawing from Kosovo.
Yugoslav soldiers set up posts on Montenegro's border with Bosnia, previously patrolled only by Montenegrin police. Montenegro feared Serb action against the pro-western government.
US and UK officials maintained that there was new evidence from Korisa survivors that Serb police ordered 600 ethnic Albanians from hideouts in the hills and held them in Korisa until NATO attacked. CNN showed a video of ethnic Albanian victims of a Serb massacre in Kosovo. The Serbs said it was staged.
The Pentagon announced it would release two Serb prisoners of war.
Day 53 - Saturday, May 15, 1999
Targets were struck near Prizren, Djakovica and Lipljan. At Kargujevac, two missiles slammed into the barracks — located in the middle of the city. A major Serbian highway near the town of Jagodina was hit, between Belgrade and Nis. Missiles also struck five bridges in Kosovo — two of them over the Toplica River north of Kosovo. Other targets included Batajnica military airport, the central industrial town Cacak, and targets around Ladjevci, near Kraljevo.
NATO said that after extensive review, the strike on Korisa was justified, as it was a legitimate military target. Korisa was identified as a military camp and command post. Military equipment including an armored personnel carrier and more than 10 pieces of artillery were observed. Aircraft also observed dug-in military positions. Casualties could not be independently confirmed. NATO said it was possible the refugees acted as human shields.
The commander of the US air force in the Balkans said NATO has air supremacy in Yugoslavia, despite the threat of Serb shoulder-fired missiles. NATO planes were still flying at 15,000 feet, but began flying lower, thus reducing the risk of collateral damage. The US Air Force acknowledged that an A-10 aircraft "recently" returned on one engine, after it was hit by a SA-7 Soviet-style shoulder-launched missile. This "tank busting" aircraft has been designed to survive with one engine. On May 5, the Serbs claimed to have downed one A-10.
Day 52 - Friday, May 14, 1999
NATO bombed power stations with graphite bombs overnight, blacking out parts of Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. The cities of Leskovac, Pirot and Sabac also reported blackouts. Internet users in Belgrade reported heavy anti aircraft fire. Attacks were mostly concentrated on Serbian forces, tanks, armored vehicles and other military vehicles, artillery units and troop bases.
A missile landed near Varbovo, close to Bulgaria's border with Yugoslavia. No injuries or damage was reported. It was the sixth missile to go astray and hit Bulgarian territory since the start of the campaign. The missile, however, had Russian language markings.
|Statistics May 14|
Two unmanned reconnaissance drones were lost. NATO warplanes flew 679 sorties in a 24-hour period.
US AH-64 attack helicopters and US artillery which support the helicopters exercised with live fire, indicating the aircraft were getting closer to going into action in Kosovo. US officials said the number of Yugoslav SA-18 shoulder-launched missiles have delayed their use in battle.
Serb media accused NATO of killing at least 50 civilians in an attack just after midnight on Korisa, near Prizren. The Serb Media Center said NATO dropped eight cluster bombs. Strikes were particularly heavy around Prizren during the day and around Stimlje during the night. NATO said it was investigating the claim.
Day 51 - Thursday, May 13, 1999
NATO strikes damaged Serbia's electrical grid, knocking out power in parts of Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad. Detonations were also reported north of Pancevo, across the Danube River from Belgrade. Bridges, airfields, and MiG fighters on the ground were destroyed. One NATO missile destroyed a bridge in Vrbas, 60 miles northwest of Belgrade. Five missiles hit near the Prizren railway station in southern Kosovo, according to the Serb media. Strikes were reported against Serbian television headquarters in Novi Sad, and a TV transmitter on a nearby hill.
Hungary's sole remaining rail link with Yugoslavia, a 20-mile route running between the Hungarian town of Szeged and the Yugoslav town of Subotica, was cut by a bombed overpass that collapsed on the track.
The 24 US AH-64 attack helicopters in Albania, together with a 5,000-strong support unit backed by US Army tactical missiles (ATACMS) and 105 mm howitzers, were declared ready for combat against Serb forces in Kosovo. It was not clear when and where exactly the helicopters would be used in combat. Live firing exercises were about to be performed. Two helicopters were sent as replacements for the ones that were lost earlier.
The UN Security Council could not come to an agreement regarding the statement on the bombing of the Chinese embassy by NATO planes, May 8. China's version of the statement did not mention it was a mistake, which was unacceptable by the US.
President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin agreed to talk by telephone.
A deputy German defense minister expressed skepticism about the alliance's statement that an outdated map was to blame for the incident. The Berliner Morgenpost newspaper quoted a senior NATO source as saying that Germany had evidence suggesting that, contrary to the official NATO affirmation, the embassy was correctly marked on the map used to target the strike.
The Council of Presidents — established in 1997 to support the United Nations — disapproved the NATO air campaign, saying the UN does not allow for military action outside the framework of the its charter. The council expressed "grave concern at the increasing marginalization of the United Nations."
Yugoslavia told the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, that more than 1,200 people have been killed and 5,000 hurt by NATO airstrikes, figures that could not be independently confirmed.
Foreign reporters were invited to see some 120 Yugoslav soldiers leave Kosovo in a convoy of buses and trucks. Serb forces blamed NATO attacks for the slow pace of withdrawals. NATO officials estimated there were about 40,000 Yugoslav forces in Kosovo. NATO said the small amount of troops withdrawn is not enough and stuck to the five demands, one of which includes withdrawal of all troops from Kosovo.
Western diplomats warned for the most dangerous threat to the 19-nation alliance with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic would try to buy the allies off with a compromise. In Brittain, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "there are no half measures to his brutality. There can be no half measures about how we deal with it. No compromise. No fudge. No half-baked deals."
Earlier, the Pentagon said the 28,000 troops for a ground force in Kosovo will not be sufficient. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering said a "30,000 plus" force to guarantee the safe return of refugees is more like it.
A NATO diplomat said it probably will require about 40,000 troops, most likely be broken down into five brigades: US, British, French, Italian and German — with possibly Russians and other non-NATO nations. The operation would be named Joint Guardian.
Day 50 - Wednesday, May 12, 1999
NATO attacked the Jugopetrol oil storage depot in Nis with missiles. In Belgrade, explosions and sounds of anti-aircraft fire resounded from a nearby military airfield and Lipovica forest, a suspected military communications and air defense site 10 miles from the Yugoslav capital.
Near Uzice, NATO destroyed a bridge, as well as an overpass on the E-75 international highway near Horgos on the border with Hungary. The alliance said its aircraft hit eight bridges, a missile launcher, five airfields and destroyed five MiG-21 aircraft on the ground.
NATO warplanes fired at least 15 missiles at a former army compound in Paracin, 60 miles southeast of Belgrade. Blasts were reported near Pristina. NATO warplanes also pounded rail and road links and an empty military barracks in Sabac, 25 miles southwest of Belgrade, and bombed factories in Cacak, in central Serbia.
In a 24-hour period, NATO flew 600 missions, of which 327 strike sorties — the highest number of strikes sorties to date. NATO has now flown nearly 20,000 sorties — of which over 4,000 bombing missions — since the start of Operation Allied Force. NATO said of the 9000 bombs dropped, 12 have gone astray.
A Yugoslav mayor accused local military commanders of endangering the population by parking military vehicles in civilian areas.
The Kosovo Liberation Army said that in fights in Kosovo between Serb and ethnic Albanian forces, three KLA fighters were killed and approximately 20 injured in an attack by Yugoslav MiG warplanes near the Albanian border. The rebels claimed one Serb plane was downed by a NATO jet. The KLA initially thought the plane was a NATO jet and did not take cover and were bombed. An OSCE spokesman said the crashed Yugoslav MiG fighter was on the Albanian side of the border near the village of Padesh.
Yugoslav troops fighting ethnic Albanian rebels swept over the border into Albania in one of their deepest incursions yet from Kosovo, international observers reported. Some twenty Serb troops occupied the border village of Perroi I Thanes, about a half mile inside Albania.
NATO Secretary General Janvier Solana reassured Albania that NATO would not allow the conflict to be spread into Albania. He said the US Army AH-64 attack helicopters would come into action soon.
NATO announced a plan to attack Yugoslavia from new locations. The attacks thus far only came from the west, from the Adriatic or western Europe, but NATO planned to deploy US F-15E planes and F-16CJ fighters at air bases in western Turkey. At the same time, Hungary allowed 24 US F/A-18 attack planes and three A-10s to be stationed on its territory for use against targets in Serbia. American KC-135 refueling tankers are already based at Budapest, and the Hungarian government has also agreed to let NATO warplanes use its air space.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, in a message congratulating his armed forces, acknowledged for the first time that "many" Serb military have been killed. He gave no figures.
NATO said that outdated intelligence information led to the attack of the Chinese embassy, May 8. Military planners said they believed the building was the Yugoslav army supply facility. The relatively young US National Imagery and Mapping Agency provided the military with an outdated map of Belgrade. The map was drawn in 1992 and "updated" in 1997. Also, military databases contained an old address for the embassy, which was moved in 1996. The agency was said to suffer from a crucial shortfall in intelligence analysts.
The UN Security Council was divided and was unable to agree on a resolution regarding the attack. China pushed for a strong condemnation, but the US, Britain and the allies would only agree to an expression of regret.
Day 49 - Tuesday, May 11, 1999
NATO destroyed an overpass on the main Belgrade-Nis highway, 35 miles south of Belgrade. Another overpass on the same highway closer to Nis was also struck, as well as Mount Kopaonik in central Serbia, and an oil depot in Sombor. Rail lines and other targets across Serbia. Five cluster bombs landed close to Djakovica. NATO aircraft hit tanks, armored vehicles, mortar positions and several assembly areas. NATO activity was also reported over Kosovo. Five strong explosions were heard northeast of Belgrade near the Pancevo industrial zone.
NATO said there was still no evidence of any Yugoslav troop withdrawals. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said "I think you can probably put this in the category of another long list of promises that Milosevic has made that he hasn't kept."
In a 24-hour period, NATO performed 623 missions.
China dropped its demand that the UN Security Council condemned the bombing of the Chinese embassy. However, China said it would not discuss a peace plan for Kosovo until NATO terminate its air campaign.
Day 48 - Monday, May 10, 1999
NATO forces carried out daylight bombings on several towns in central and western Serbia towns. Missiles hit targets around Belgrade, including the northeastern Pancevo industrial zone and an administrative building of the chemical factory in Baric, southwest of the capital.
Yugoslavia asked the World Court to stop NATO's air strikes.
China broke off military ties and other contacts with the United States. China also insisted a halt to NATO's bombing.
Yugoslavia announced it would withdraw "some" of its forces from Kosovo and return its strength to "peace time levels", believed to be some 12,000 troops. The Serbs claim the Kosovo Liberation Army was defeated. The withdrawal could not be verified by reporters, since all reporters were ordered to leave Kosovo. NATO said it would continue the air campaign until all of its demands were met. US Defense Secretary Cohen called it "completely insufficient." He also said there was no evidence of forces being pulled back. Russia claimed the withdrawal was a result of their diplomatic efforts.
Day 47 - Sunday, May 9, 1999
It was a quiet night for Yugoslavia. NATO said some missions were called off because of the bad weather, not because of Chinese protests against the air strikes.
Targets included Nis airfield, military radio relay site at Kosovska Mitrovica, and a petroleum storage site at Pristina. NATO planes also struck Serb military forces. Targets included two tanks near Rznik, ten revetted armored personnel carriers near Kalavaj, camouflaged military equipment, command post military assembly areas.
NATO aircraft flew 317 sorties.
[Image: Based on NATO map]
May 8, 1999: map of Belgrade with location
of embassy and other targets in vicinity
NATO hit the Yugoslav army headquarters and other government buildings in intense air raids.
The Chinese embassy in Belgrade was hit by three 1,000 lbs laser-guided bombs, dropped by a B-2 bomber. The alliance was not planning on targeting the embassy, but at least one building across the street from the embassy. According to NATO spokesman Jamie Shea the planned target was the Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement. According to Chinese news media, at least three people were killed. China strongly opposed the NATO air strikes and requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The US Embassy in Beijing advised its staff and Americans living in the Chinese capital "to raise their security awareness." and requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Another target in Belgrade was Hotel Yugoslavia, a location being used as a barracks for Arkan's Tigers in Belgrade and as an alternate Headquarters for MUP special police, since the start of the campaign.
Another interesting target was the Dobanovci Command Complex, of which NATO said they had evidence it served as the centre of Milosevic's high command, following the destruction and damage done to other command facilities in Belgrade.
NATO said other targets included the Belgrade Ministry of Defence North, the Belgrade Ministry of Defence South, the Belgrade Army General Staff building and its satellite communications antennae, the Belgrade Federal Republic of Yugoslavia MUP Special Police Headquarters, and the Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement weapons warehouse. Also hit were electrical power transformer yards at Belgrade stations 3, 5, and 8 and at Obrenovac.
Day 45 - Friday, May 7, 1999
A military airport near Nis was attacked by NATO planes, using clusterbombs. One bomb, dropped by a US F-16, went astray and hit a market and a hospital complex in a residential neighborhood. Witnesses reported a huge fire in the direction of the capital's main Obrenovac power plant. Strong explosions were heard near midnight in the New Belgrade area of the capital. The state news agency Tanjug reported that almost all of Montenegro and many towns in Serbia — the larger Yugoslav republic — lost power.
Germany approved the deployment of up to 1,000 German soldiers to help care for Kosovo refugees in Albania and Macedonia. They will be based alongside French units in southern Albania and help aid organizations.
President Clinton suggested that the peacekeeping plan adopted in Bosnia might be a model for Kosovo. Bosnia was divided three ways, with the US/Russia, Britain and France each of the geographic areas.
The 28,000-member force initially planned for Kosovo was considered too small to monitor the postwar resentment that could boil over into violence — even after most of the Serb troops and paramilitary units left Kosovo. A number of 60,000 troops was mentioned by the Washington Post.
Day 44 - Thursday, May 6, 1999
NATO attacked a gas depot and a fuel depot near Nis. Detonations were also reported from Mount Fruska Gora south of the city, and Tanjug reported Yugoslav air defense activity. Near Prahovo, in eastern Serbia on the border with Romania, a chemical factory was hit. An explosion was reported near the Ponikve airfield northwest of the central Serbian town of Uzice. Montenegro radio said that a bridge near Novi Pazar in southwestern Serbia was attacked, as well as a military airfield near the central Serbian town of Lazarevac.
US officials ordered 176 more US Air Force and US Marines planes to the Balkan region, bringing the number of US planes in the campaign to more than 800. The planes included 18 A-10s, 18 F-16CJs, 36 F-15Es, 24 F/A-18s and up to 80 additional tanker planes.
The Hungarian government said earlier the 24 F/A-18s will be based on its territory. Eight US Air Force refueling planes are scheduled to arrive in Hungary this week.
Russia and the major Western powers agreed on a draft plan for ending the conflict in Kosovo, but many details needed to be worked out. Russia wanted the bombing to stop, while NATO insists the Serbs first stop the repression of ethnic Albanians. The US wants a complete pullout of Serb forces, while Moscow and Belgrade talk of a partial pullout. Yugoslavia repeatedly rejected NATO demands for a NATO-led armed force into Kosovo. It indicated it would only accept a UN-controlled, non-NATO international force, armed only with personal weapons.
Clinton softened his rhetoric after meeting Russian envoy Chernomyrdin, offering both a pause in NATO's bombing campaign and negotiations on a UN-backed peace force for Kosovo if Milosevic starts pulling out his forces.
The foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada agreed to some of the details of a basic agreement. A major aim of the meeting was to move toward a UN mandate for any military force to secure the return of about 700,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees and for an interim administration of Kosovo.
A draft plan, resulting from the meeting, included the following points:
- Withdrawal of Serb-led Yugoslav army and paramilitary forces from Kosovo, where NATO says they have conducted a terror campaign against ethnic Albanian civilians.
- The safe return of more than 800,000 refugees to Kosovo.
- UN administration for the province until a framework for self-rule within Yugoslavia can be developed.
- Demilitarization of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.
- The establishment of a "civil and security presence" to oversee the settlement.
US Secretary of State Albright said Russia "now accepts all five NATO principles," including a withdrawal of Serb forces and basic terms for a "robust" military force to protect ethnic Albanians returning to Kosovo. This could lead to more international pressure on Milosevic to accept an armed force in Kosovo, even if this would be under the umbrella of the UN, with troops supplied by NATO.
Ibrahim Rugova, under house arrest in Yugoslavia until May 5, said he endorsed US calls for NATO participation in an international peacekeeping force for Kosovo and also for the withdrawal of Serb forces.
Day 43 - Wednesday, May 5, 1999
NATO attacked military airports, power lines and oil depots all over the country. Some of the targets could not be struck due to bad weather. The Obrva military airport, 60 miles south of Belgrade, was also struck. Of the ground forces, 10 armored concentrations, 11 artillery sites and three command posts were hit.
Near Nis, a power line was detroyed with missiles. Large areas in Belgrade were without electrical power for a third day. Yugoslav officials said their nationwide power system collapsed. Sixty percent of the country was said to be without electrical power. Also much of the telephone system was down.
Near Djeneral Jankovic, a convoy from the Greek branch of Doctors of the World was hit by a bomb inside Kosovo on its way from Macedonia to Pristina, the humanitarian group said. No one was injured. NATO denied Yugoslav claims it hit the convoy of three trucks and a jeep carrying medicine to a Pristina hospital.
A US Army AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed 45 miles northeast of Tirana-Rina airport on a combat training mission. Both crew members of Task Force Hawk died. It was the second crash in nine days. The cause of the crash was still under investigation but there were no indications of hostile fire. A fire ball was spotted by the crew members and some of the Apache's ammunitions exploded. The AH-64 crews train under total blackout conditions.
The Yugoslav Army's Pristina Corps claimed to have shot down a US A-10 aircraft.
Milosevic accepted the idea of a small unarmed UN peace force but insisted that some 11,000 troops remain in Kosovo. At date there were some 40,000 Serb military and special police troops present. NATO insisted that all troops had to withdraw from the province. Clinton rejected Milosevic's suggestion that a peacekeeping force exclude NATO countries involved in the airstrikes. Yugoslav's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nebojsa Vujovic said Yugoslavia will pull some of its forces out of Kosovo only after NATO troops leave neighboring countries. He also stated that the composition of the UN force could only be a matter between the UN and Yugoslavia.
NATO military planners study the size of a ground force needed one Milosevic agress with NATO demands. Earlier, the alliance called for a 28,000 strong force. SFOR's mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina initially started with 60,000 well-equipped and heavily armed soliders. Clinton was told that it would take more ground troops to secure peace in Kosovo than originally estimated. With many destructed homes and villages more NATO-led troops will be needed to oversee the safe return of ethnic Albanian refugees and help with reconstruction.
The Wall Street Journal reported NATO's supreme commander Clark has a new plan to move as many as 60,000 allied ground troops into Kosovo in a "semi-permissive" environment in which Milosevic's forces in Kosovo were so decimated by bombing that they could put up little or no resistance. The deadline of this plan was said to be late July. One-third of this force would be American. Clark denied the report.
In Macedonia, 4,000 additional troops arrived over the past few days, increasing troop strength of this Kosovo Force or KFOR to 16,000.
Defense Secretary William Cohen said the US is willing to release two captured Yugoslav soldiers.
Though initially thought to be under house arrest, Ibrahim Rugova held talks with Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema. Rugova's delegation opposed Milosevic's at peace talks in Rambouillet.
Day 42 - Tuesday, May 4, 1999
NATO struck 40 fixed targets, amongst which five airfields, along with seven lines of communication, five army facilities, two command facilities, and six command, control and communications facilities. Also hit were a military airfield, hydraulics factory, a local TV station (according to Serb TV in Novi Sad), five petroleum facilities (possibly in Novi Sad and Pozego). A bridge over the Danube River in Ostruznica, near Belgrade, was hit, as was a bridge over the Morava River in Grdelicka Valley, about 50 miles south of the city of Nis.
Many Belgrade residents spent a second night in darkness. Yugoslav aircraft have been struck on the ground at various Serbian and Montenegrin airports. Some aircraft were hidden under the tails of large commercial airplanes. NATO said that operations over the last 24 hours were the most successful to date against field forces in Kosovo.
A Yugoslav MiG-29 was downed by an American F-16 fighter pilot while trying to intercept a NATO formation some 13,000 ft above Serbia's border with Bosnia.
Some 14,000 sorties were flown since the start of the campaign March 24.
After having studied video material and debriefing pilots, NATO said it did not have evidence that proves NATO hit a bus near Sabine Vode on May 3, although several allied planes were in the vicinity that day. "We can find no evidence of any involvement in this incident," spokesman Shea said. The bus — travelling in an area where Serb forces and the KLA clashed — showed holes, possibly from bullets. NATO said the victims appeared to be dressed in uniforms and the bus could have been ambushed. A French-language dispatch by Kosovapress news agency said the bus had been transporting Serb forces and was abandoned at least two hours before NATO launched airstrikes in the area.
Bulgaria allowed NATO aircraft to use Bulgaria's airspace for strikes against neighbouring Yugoslavia.
Although initial checkups of the three released US POWs seemed to indicate that they were healthy, more thorough checkups revealed fractured ribs and a broken nose. This raised questions about how they were treated during their capture on March 31 and their imprisonment. Interviews seemed to indicate that the three were indeed captured inside Macedonia. The Serbs always claimed to have captured them on Serb territory.
NATO top general Klaus Naumann, head of NATO's military arm, acknowledged that the air campaign failed to stop the Serb ethnic cleansing campaign: "We cannot stop such a thing entirely." He also said the NATO campaign had been weakened by having to avoid collateral damage in an effort to protect civilians.
Day 41 - Monday, May 3, 1999
NATO hit a major power grid in Kostolac, 40 kilometers southeast of Belgrade along the Danube River, supplying power to a large area in eastern Serbia. They also hit a plant in the southern city of Nis and another in Obrenovac, about 30 kilometers west of Belgrade. Towns started losing power in waves, radio and TV went off the air. NATO claimed they hit the five main electricity yards that distribute power to the Yugoslav army and that about 70 percent of the power to Yugoslavia was knocked out. In some cases, power was restored in the early morning. Also struck was the metalworks factory in Valjevo. A missile hit Sremska Mitrovica, 45 miles northwest of Belgrade.
Serb media claimed NATO mistakenly hit a bus that was traveling from the western Kosovo city of Pec to Rozaje in neighboring Montenegro. Victims were reported by Serb media. The news could not be verified independently.
Six-hundred sorties were flown by NATO in a 24-hour period. Overall, the alliance flew over 3,500 strike missions in some 14,000 sorties since March 24. The great majority of the targets were purely military.
After the release of the three American POWs on May 2, the White House said there can be no deal with Milosevic until all five UN key demands are met and all forces are ordered out of Kosovo, the mass expulsions have stopped, and a peace plan including NATO troops to enforce peace is accepted.
When hitting the power grids, NATO tried out a new weapon, but did not release any information. Serb engineers in Belgrade, however, said it was a "soft bomb" that explodes above the electric power plants and sprays graphite — a conductor that short-circuits systems without causing much damage.
Day 40 - Sunday, May 2, 1999
Seven missiles struck an oil refinery before dawn Sunday in Novi Sad. Strong anti-aircraft fire was reported along the coast of Montenegro. Several blasts were heard in the area of Kotor Bay when allied planes flew over from Italy. Other targets included military command and control networks near Belgrade, radio relay transmitters, a petrol dump, bridges and the airfield at the southern Serbian city of Nis. NATO also struck armoured vehicles, mortar positions, command posts, artillery, six surface-to-air missile launchers and air-control vehicles.
At around 0020 GMT a US F-16CG jet — returning from a strike mission — crashed near Metic — some 18 km east of the town of Kozluk — in western Serbia. The pilot ejected safely and was recovered two hours later by US forces. It could not be acknowledged whether the F-16CG was downed by the Serbs or not. Later, NATO said that the crash was caused by an engine failure but that the matter still was being investigated. It is the second allied plane lost over Yugoslavia since the start of the airstrikes March 24.
Three US servicemen, captured March 31 by the Serbs along the Macedonian border, were freed after 32 days of captivity. They were handed over to the American reverent Jesse Jackson. In a meeting between Milosevic and Jackson, Milosevic mentioned the four points raised by NATO: halting the violence in Kosovo, allowing the return of refugees, the presence of a multinational force and a political solution to the crisis. Jackson brought with him a letter for president Clinton from Milosevic with a response to those four points.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said NATO was holding a second prisoner. No details were released, except that the capture was "very recent".
Day 39 - Saturday, May 1, 1999
A NATO bomb or missile hit a bus in Pristina, when it was crossing the Luzane bridge north of Pristina, on "a key north-south supply route for Yugoslav military and special police" in Kosovo. Civilian casualties were reported by Serb media, ranging from 40 to 60. Independent journalists reported about 15 bodies. NATO said that after weapon release, a buss crossed the bridge. On April 12, a similar incident occurred when a train was crossing a bridge in southeast Serbia.
In a 24-hour period, NATO performed over 600 missions, hitting 71 targets.
A AV-8B Harrier from the US Marine Expeditionary Force crashed in the Adriatic while attempting to return to its aircraft carrier during a training exercise. The pilot ejected safely. The plane was part of NATO's force in Macedonia preparing for future peace implementation in Kosovo.
Ten more USAF B-52 bombers arrived in the UK.
Day 38 - Friday, April 30, 1999
Amongst NATO's targets were highway and railroad bridges, a petroleum depot, a ferronickel plant in Kosovo, a border post, an airfield, several groups of military vehicles including howitzers, tanks, petroleum tankers inside Kosovo, SA3 and SA6 SAM sites, the main TV transmitter in Belgrade, a headquarters of the Yugoslav Army, Federal Ministry buildings in Belgrade and police buildings as well, and an ordnance storage site. With this increased target list, there also was aggressive Serb air defence anti-aircraft activity and an increase in surface to air missile launches.
The Pentagon said it will soon begin with "area bombing," i.e. dropping unguided weapons from B-52 bombers. A remarkable statement, given the number of incidents with collateral damage.
Twenty-eight additional tanker aircraft were expected to arrive in the next few days.
The coastal towns of Bar and Petrovac were targeted. The military airfield in Podgorica was also targeted. The pro-western Montenegro tried to stay neutral in the campaign, but Serb military activity more or less forced NATO to attack Montenegrin targets. Brigadier General Giuseppe Marani said that aircraft flown from Podgorica are only short distance from allied forces in Albania, and those pose a potential threat to NATO operations. The alliance also struck Milosevic's hometown of Pozarevac — 50 miles southeast of Belgrade. A missile slammed into a building near the railway station. NATO hit radio relay sites around Prizren. Yugoslav troops and special police in the province of Kosovo were also attacked.
Detonations were heard at the airport in Podgorica, that was stuck for the third time in 12 hours. Witnesses said NATO planes were fired at by anti-aircraft fire and Yugoslav ships also fired at NATO planes.
Air Marshal John Day — deputy chief of Britain's defense staff — said Yugoslavia's air force has launched air raids from Podgorica against ethnic Albanian refugees in Kosovo.
The Pentagon announced the dispatch of an additional ten B-52 bombers to Europe. US Defense Secretary William Cohen said: "We will start to attack for more hours, more targets and from more directions." Several B-52s have already been flying missions in Operation Allied Force.
Day 36 - Wednesday, April 28, 1999
NATO airstrikes hit southern districts of Belgrade. The independent news agency Beta said early in the morning NATO struck a military barracks in Belgrade's Topcider and Kosutnjak districts. The barracks, one of Yugoslavia's largest, were evacuated before strikes began, but its grounds are believed to contain an underground bunker that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic reportedly often uses. The northwestern town of Paracin was also struck. An oil depot in the southwestern Serbian town of Pozega — 70 miles south of Belgrade — also was hit overnight, with fuel supplies set ablaze. The oil refinery in Novi Sad was hit. Yugoslav media reported attacks on an oil depot at Smederevo, 25 miles east of Belgrade, and on a major bridge over the Sava River a few miles west of the capital, and damaged an adjacent one.
In neighburing country Bulgaria a NATO AGM-88 HARM missile fired by a US F-16CJ accidentally slammed into the Gorna Banja district of the capital Sofia, 30 miles east of the Yugoslav border. One house was damaged, but there were no injuries. NATO said one of the alliance's jet fighters in self-defense launched the missile that accidentally hit the Bulgarian capital after Yugoslav ground radar locked onto the plane. It is known that Iraq has briefed Yugoslavia extensively on misleading HARM missiles. Some Bulgerian officials said the NATO plane violated Bulgerian airspace.
Three missiles have already struck Bulgaria's territory during the NATO air campaign against neighboring Yugoslavia, and alliance planes have previously violated Bulgarian airspace. NATO has sought permission to use its air space in pursuing airstrikes against Yugoslavia, but this permission is not yet granted.
Nearly 2,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees crossed the border into Albania in the last 24 hours, saying they were ordered out of their homes near the southern Kosovo city of Djakovica.
In the US, the House of Representatives voted to require Clinton to get congressional approval before deciding to inject "ground elements" into the Kosovo conflict.
Former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin flew to Germany, presenting "concrete proposals" in Bonn, Rome and Belgrade in a two-day shuttle mission. He said that the key precondition for peace remains a halt to NATO airstrikes, highly unlikely given NATO's requirements. The Russian plan calls for a UN-controlled international peacekeeping force in Kosovo but a top Serb official rejected the notion of any military force whatsoever in the province. "No armed forces will be allowed to come, not even UN peacekeepers," said ultranationalist Serbian Deputy Premier Vojislav Seselj. His views generally reflect those of Milosevic.
Day 35 - Tuesday, April 27, 1999
In New Belgrade, NATO attacked the 23-story Usce Center building that houses offices for Milosevic's Socialist party and offices of several of Belgrade's eight broadcast stations. The building was also targeted April 21. Some of the targets appeared centered near Prizren, about 11 miles northeast of the Albanian border. Serb state media reported dozens of missiles targeted Pristina, and the cities of Pec and Decani. Jets also struck the southern Serbian village of Surdulica. Air raid alerts sounded tonight in Pristina and in Podgorica, capital of the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro. Explosions were heard from the direction of the Podgorica airport.
In Surdulica — 200 miles south of Belgrade — local officials said 11 missiles struck the town, destroying about 50 houses. NATO said it carried out a successful attack on an army barracks in Surdulica. NATO admitted one laser-guided bomb fired by an F-15 went astray hitting a civilian area. The alliance said it does not target civilians, but cannot exclude harm to civilians.
Approximately 5,000 ethnic Albanians entered Macedonia — the leading edge of a major exodus ignited by Serb forces operating south and east of Pristina.
US President Clinton authorized the Pentagon to call up as many as 33,102 reservists for the Kosovo conflict, with 2,116 members of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.
In negotiations with Russia key obstacles to a settlement are NATO's refusal to stop the bombing and Yugoslavia's refusal to accept armed NATO peacekeepers to enforce a peace accord for Kosovo. However, Belgrade still insists any peace force be unarmed or lightly armed. This is unacceptable by NATO.
Day 34 - Monday, April 26, 1999
NATO warplanes destroyed the third and last of Novi Sad's bridges spanning the Danube River. The 1,500-foot rail and road bridge, partially damaged in three previous attacks, suffered several direct hits before collapsing. A fuel depot was targeted near the central Serbian town of Valjevo. Nine NATO missiles also hit an airport in Sombor on the border with Hungary. An area near Pristina was also targeted, including the Slatina military and civilian airport.
A US Army AH-64 helicopter on a training mission crashed in Tirana (Albania) at around 22:40 hrs. The cause of the accident is unknown, but the helicopter was not downed by hostile fire. Both crew members survived.
NATO announced that 23 US Army Apache helicopters, with 33 support helicopters and 18 ground-based multiple-launch rocket systems — a total force of 3,400 soldiers — are ready for action against Serb forces in Kosovo. The attack helicopters were deemed necessary since the ongoing air strikes seem to have little effect on Serb ground forces attacking ethnic Albanians and KLA rebels. The Pentagon announced it is sending 30 more aerial refueling tankers to the region. US Defense Secretary William Cohen expected to announce the call-up of reserve forces this week. US officials said Clinton was expected to order the call-up of about 33,000 reservists, mainly from the Air National Guard.
Despite the fact that ground troops still were out of the question, NATO military planners started to review the estimate of the number of troops required for a ground war in Yugoslavia — 200,000 in a worst-case scenario. The Washington Post wrote that Harry Summers, retired US Army colonel, said NATO's high-end estimate of 200,000 troops is likely to become its low-end estimate. Ground troops would only be considered in a "permissive environment", with Yugoslav forces pulled out of Kosovo. However, it remains a possibility that if airstrikes alone do not seem to be sufficient to reach all military objectives NATO will launch a ground war or resettle Kosovars without a peace agreement.
The European Union banned fuel shipments to Yugoslavia. It is unknown whether it should be enforced with a naval blockade in the Adriatic Sea.
The Red Cross was allowed to visit the three captured US servicemen after their capture on March 31 by the Serbs.
Yugoslavia's deputy premier, Vuc Draskovic, said Serbia has been seriously weakened by the allied bombardment. Draskovic said his government was ready to accept a peace deal calling for a UN presence that would include NATO countries. According to Draskovic, his party's privately owned TV station was taken over by the Serb army.
A KLA rebel commander, Ramush Haradinaj, said more and more Serb forces were hiding in villages where ethnic refugees are staying, making it more difficult for NATO. KLA spokesman Gani Sylaj appealed for NATO to supply them arms and deploy US Army AH-64 helicopters against Serb forces immediately.
Day 33 - Sunday, April 25, 1999
A NATO strike on a key transmission facility 10 miles south of Belgrade knocked Serbian television off the air. Serb TV resumed broadcasts in the Belgrade region several hours after the strike, though with more limited capabilities.
Refugees reaching Macedonia told relief workers of Serb paramilitaries entering villages, ordering residents out of their homes and then opening fire on them. So far, Serb forces concentrated on emptying southern villages with surgical precision. Now, also more northly villages were being emptied.
More than 600,000 refugees — mostly ethnic Albanians — have fled Kosovo since airstrikes began. Several hundreds of thousand refugees are displaced within Kosovo, many trying to leave.
Day 32 - Saturday, April 24, 1999
Twenty-six missiles struck the city of Nis, 200 km southeast of Belgrade. Fuel storage sites were hit in Novi Sad, as well as an oil refinery and the last remaining bridge. Belgrade called it the 12th strike on the city. The bridge was attacked with six missiles, but Serb media said it withstood the assault. In the village of Bogutovac a fuel depot was struck with two missiles. In the city of Novi Pazar, 20 explosions were heard. According to Belgrade, 15 missiles hit the city of Pristina. NATO bombarded the home base for Yugoslav forces operating in Kosovo.
US diplomats started drafting a UN Security Council resolution calling for the demilitarization of Kosovo and an international military force. This move was said to be aimed at silencing some critics who had complained that NATO ignored the UN in launching its airstrikes.
Again, Yugoslavia ruled out the presence of armed foreign soldiers on its territory to enforce a possible peace agreement in Kosovo. So far, Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin made little progress in Moscow's latest attempt to persuade Belgrade.
Ukraine's president, Leonid Kuchma, said it is essential that an armed UN peacekeeping force moves into Kosovo, comprised of troops from nations that did not participate in the NATO bombing campaign. He also said that for a peace force to succeed it must gain the confidence of the Serbs — meaning that the participation of Russian troops is essential.
A NATO missile or laser-guided bomb struck Serbia state TV, knocking the headquarters of the country's main source of news off the air. Sixteen people were killed in the attack, technicians, doormen and a makeup artist (see KFOR chronology, February 13, 2001).
For a long time, NATO has said Serbian television was a legitimate target because it was spreading "propaganda" about the allied air campaign. Serbian state-run television was back on air a few hours after the blast. Near Belgrade, sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles also struck two electric power transformers that supplied power to military command and control facilities linked to the Yugoslav army. Allied aircraft also destroyed a Yugoslav artillery battery in Kosovo, as well as a troop convoy, six tanks and a brigade command post
Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo said his country feared Milosevic might drag Albania into the armed conflict, after hundreds Yugoslav troops have crossed the border with Albania on April 20. Earlier, on April 13, Yugoslav forces briefly invaded Albania. Milo also said that "there is evidence that shows that many people from the Serbian secret services have been infiltrating (Albania) with the poor men and women coming into Albania from Kosovo."
NATO announced it would enforce economic sanctions more forcefully, called for an oil embargo.
The United States decided not to add a second aircraft carrier to the naval force attacking Yugoslavia. The USS Enterprise — currently in the Mediterranean Sea — will return to its home port at Norfolk in early May as scheduled. The NATO naval force participating in operations against Yugoslavia consist — amongst others — of the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group and British and French carriers.
Officials said that the more than 9,000 missions so far have left Milosevic's army more vulnerable to a NATO ground offensive. But other US officials have said Yugoslav troops already are digging into defensive positions and mining key land routes into Kosovo, maneuvers that would complicate any NATO ground offensive.
The Pentagon announced deployment of 2,000 additional troops to the Balkans in connection with the arrival of 24 US Army AH-64 attack helicopters. In his Pentagon testimony, US Defense Secretary William Cohen said not to consider the helicopters the "silver bullet".
Despite what Yugoslav President Milosevic said in an interview with a US television station, the Red Cross was still not allowed to visit the three captured US service men — a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.
NATO offered suspend its air strikes if President Slobodan Milosevic would accept the five conditions for peace in Kosovo and begins withdrawing his troops, said British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.
Day 30 - Thursday, April 22, 1999
NATO planes attacked the military airfield of Batajnica, north of Belgrade. Another target was the town of Valjevo, with 12 missiles hitting the Krusik factory. One of Milosevic's Belgrade mansions was destroyed during an attack on Belgrade's wealthy Dedinje district. Milosevic was not at home at the time of the attack. NATO said Milosevic spends each night in different bunkers in and around Belgrade. NATO and other Western officials called the building a presidential command post and legitimate military target because it contained "command and control" facilities and that there was no intention to kill him.
US and British officials said it is prudent to consider whether NATO's military policy in Yugoslavia should be reversed to allow the deployment of ground troops. NATO Secretary-General Solana has asked the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, to update the military assessment made in October 1998 that the Yugoslavia campaign should be limited to the air.
Despite bad weather, NATO flew 434 sorties today, and 9,300 in total since the start of Operation Allied Force. The Pentagon estimated the airstrikes have damaged or destroyed half of Serbia's attack aircraft, 10 percent-20 percent of Serb tanks and armored personnel vehicles, 30 percent of the SA-3 anti-missile batteries and 10 percent-15 percent of the mobile SA-6 anti-missile batteries. NATO lost one F-117 plane and three soldiers are in Serb hands.
Day 29 - Wednesday, April 21, 1999
NATO jets struck a Belgrade building housing the offices of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling party as well as transmitters for TV and radio stations owned by Milosevic's daughter. The city of Novi Sad and the town of Valjevo were also struck. In the afternoon, a key railway bridge over the Sava River, a few miles west of Belgrade, was severely damaged. Also, the last of three bridges over the Danube River in Novi Sad was destroyed as well as Belgrade's Pancevo Bridge, which links the capital with the northern bank of the river. NATO said at least 30 targets were struck.
It seemed NATO moved from strictly military targets to ones aimed at undermining President Slobodan Milosevic's political control. NATO planes hit a radio and TV transmission tower on Mount Fruska Gora outside Novi Sad. NATO had struggled with an internal debate over whether to attack broadcasting facilities, which are not strictly a military target.
The first six of 24 US Army AH-64 helicopters arrived in Albania. The attack helicopters are expected to be used initially against Serb targets in southwestern Kosovo, where ethnic Albanian rebels fighting for independence have gathered after Serbs drove them from many of their traditional strongholds.
Day 28 - Tuesday, April 20, 1999
Missiles struck the city airport of Pristina, Kosovo. Tanjug said that NATO planes bombed targets near Kosovo's Belacevac coal mine at least four times today. Yugoslavia's third-largest city, Nis, was also targeted. NATO struck six tanks, military barracks in Prizen, communications sites, oil depots and an ammunition plant. Strong anti-aircraft fire and explosions could be heard from Belgrade.
One Albanian soldier was wounded in a seven-hour exchange of machine-gun and sniper fire across the Yugoslav-Albanian border south of the Kosovo city Djakovica, the OSCE reported.
Two to three hundred Yugoslav soldiers entered Croatia's southernmost peninsula — a demilitarized zone between Croatia and Montenegro, controlled by a 28-man UN monitoring mission. Ivan Simonovic, Croatia's representative to the United Nations, said he was convinced diplomatic means would lead to their withdrawal. "But Croatia must be ready to use other means if necessary."
Day 27 - Monday, April 19, 1999
Yugoslav officials broke diplomatic relations with Albania, on the accusation that Albania supported "aggression".
International monitors reported daytime shelling along the border with Albania. Yugoslav federal army troops stepped up security along the Montenegrin border with Bosnia.
A Danish F-16 enforcing the no-fly zone over Bosnia made an emergency landing at Sarajevo's airport Sunday night due to an engine problem. Denmark had six F-16s stationed in Italy. Four more were planned in coming weeks.
KLA rebel fighters captured three soldiers from the Yugoslav army and planned to turn them over to NATO officials. They were captured last week during fighting near Junik, Kosovo, according to the KLA.
Day 26 - Sunday, April 18, 1999
Six missiles hit the major oil refinery in Novi Sad. It was hit four times, the Serbs said. A nitrogen fertilizer plant and oil storage depot in Pancevo outside Belgrade was targeted for the second time. The refinery at Pancevo refinery was hit for the fourth time, said the Serbs. British planes targeted sites of the Serbian Army and Special Police Forces in Kosovo with RBL 755 cluster bombs. A radio relay site was attacked. Three missiles also struck in the town of Paracin, 90 miles southeast of Belgrade, Serb media said. Tanjug reported attacks around Kraljevo, 75 miles south of Belgrade, and in Sremska Mitrovica, 40 miles west of the capital. An airfield near Batajnica, northwest of Belgrade, was attacked, which knocked out supply lines, 13 military vehicles, two MiG-21 fighter jets on the ground.
At Sremska Mitrovica, Yugoslav forces said they had shot down cruise missiles. News from the Serb media can not independently be confirmed.
In a 24-hour period ending Sunday afternoon, NATO jets flew 500 missions.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that the Clinton administration was confident air power will achieve NATO's purposes. NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said the allies had no plans to authorize an invasion. Britain's foreign secretary, Robin Cook, stressed it would take two to three months to prepare an invasion, if one were ordered. Earlier, NATO has said it would take about 200,000 allied group troops to conquer Kosovo.
With a peace settlement seemingly dead for now, the Washington Post reported, three possibilities emerge for the eventual use of NATO ground troops in Kosovo:
- Invading and expelling Serb troops from the province.
- Escorting ethnic Albanians back to their villages and protecting them against Serb reprisals.
- Opening a land corridor to permit relief organizations to help tens of thousands of Kosovars hiding in the hills.
The second option is not likely, unless Milosevic agrees to accept the presence of peacekeeping troops.
Day 25 - Saturday, April 17, 1999
Bad weather over the Balkans was hampering NATO's campaign. British jets hit an army corps tactical headquarters overnight in Pristina, inflicting "severe damage." More detonations were heard in Pristina. Yugoslav state television said four missiles hit a factory in Valjevo southeast of Belgrade.
[Map: Edited CNN image]
April 15, 1999: attacks on convoys on day 23
A Pentagon debriefer said the F-16 pilot who discussed his attack on a convoy on April 15 did not accidentally bomb refugees, as NATO had suggested in releasing an audiotape of his account. "I am saying that the pilot in the audiotape (...) hit a military vehicle" and if a NATO briefer suggested otherwise "then that is not accurate as I understand the facts." He did not mean there was not an accidental attack on civilians in the area. He also said NATO, "in all sincerity and earnestness" tried to get information out "sooner than that information was verified or available, and the result has been 72 hours of confusion rather than 72 hours of clarity."
Military analysts said now that NATO is aiming for bridges, roads, and rail roads, it might get harder to destroy Serb military targets without also hitting civilians.
While there is no final answer whether to send in ground troops, Hungary's Defense Minister Janos Szabo ruled out his country as a possible staging area. Hungary recently joined the NATO alliance, on March 12, just prior to the start of the air campaign. The country has allowed the use of Hungarian air space and airports in the NATO.
France said it plans to air-drop food and medicine to ethnic Albanians who have remained in Kosovo rather than flee to neighboring Albania and Macedonia.
Day 24 - Friday, April 16, 1999
NATO targeted oil refineries, military barracks and airports in Kosovo, Montenegro and the Yugoslav capital in what the alliance called one of the most successful nights. According to Tanjug, Slatina — main Kosovo airport just outside Pristina — was hit for the fifth time, just like the mounts Butovac and Goles, northeast and south of Pristina. Other targets included a military airfield and airport just outside Podgorica — capital of Montenegro; the southern Belgrade district of Rakovica; Yugoslavia's largest oil refinery complex at Pancevo for the third time; a bridge over the Danube southeast of the capital; Subotica, near the border with Hungary; an SA-6 site near Djakovic. Two MiG-21 aircraft, 3 tanks, 6 artillery positions and 6 bunkers were destroyed.
Almost 400 missions were flown by NATO planes over the past 24 hours.
The Serbs — describing the NATO attacks as being aimed at civilian areas — claimed that 500 civilians have been killed and more than 4,000 hurt in the bombing campaign.
The KLA rebel forces captured a Yugoslav Army officer during an overnight ground operation near Junik, Kosovo, on April 13-14. The officer was handed over to the US and is being held in Tirana as a prisoner of war.
As a part of their media campaign against western counties, the Serbs organized a bus trip for journalists to the site where a convoy allegedly was attacked by NATO planes. The journalists noticed trucks parked in garages, inside partially destroyed Albanian houses or camouflaged in parks and fields, as well as about half a dozen mock field cannons were set up to fool NATO aircraft.
[Map: Edited NATO image]
April 15, 1999: targets struck on day 23
Day 23 - Thursday, April 15, 1999
Targets included military barracks, TV transmitters and bridges throughout Yugoslavia. NATO strikes also knocked out a major railway bridge over the Lim River and hit another bridge over the Ibar River valley, both south of Belgrade. Two missiles targeted the village of Lukare, northeast of Pristina, said the Serbs. The airport at Slatina, pounded by a wave of strikes all week, was hit again, according to Serb media.
NATO said a US F-16 bombed refugees by mistake while attacking what looked like a military convoy. However, the situation was not cleared immediately. NATO debriefers gave an elaborate explanation of an airstrike that occurred well to the west and north of the site where the Yugoslavs showed broken bodies, bloodied survivors and burned tractors. This seemed to indicate that NATO and the Yugoslavs were referring to different events.
NATO said it attacked three convoys: one in Meja (north of Djakovica); two convoys near Bistrazin, one of which it says was a military convoy and another it says was a refugee convoy with military vehicles at the front and rear. The Yugoslavs were referring to an attack in Pirane, in southwestern Kosovo.
NATO spokesman Shea stated that "the NATO bomb destroyed the lead vehicle, which we now believe to have been a civilian vehicle."
An international observer, part of a team monitoring the Albanian border, said that refugee accounts indicated that Serbs, using MiG fighter jets and helicopters, had taken advantage of a NATO military strike to deliberately target refugees.
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said "I have to say that I will not accept the criticism that has been emanating from Belgrade from the very people who organize the mass ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, who have caused thousands of civilian deaths in Kosovo, and who have displaced from their homes hundreds of thousands of people in Kosovo."
Serb forces lobbed artillery shells over the border into northern Albania in a running battle with the KLA. According to the OSCE, mortars landed close to Albania's border checkpoint at Morini, where international aid workers were operating and refugees were passing through.
Witnesses said a Yugoslav navy ship anchored off Montenegro had fired three missiles, apparently trying to hit NATO jets.
The Bosnian Serb TV station Kanal S, based in Pale, was ordered to stop broadcasting because its coverage of the Kosovo crisis was deemed inflammatory and inaccurate.
Day 22 - Wednesday, April 14, 1999
NATO hit the Bistrica hydroelectric power plant and a major food-processing factory in the southeastern Serbian town of Valjevo early on the day. Telecommunications have been targeted also.
Germany acknowledged that a CL-389 unmanned reconnaissance drone (Aufklärungsflugkörper) did not return from its mission. The Serbs claimed it was shot down near Pristina. Later it was announced that earlier two similar German drones were also lost. Germany had 21 of these unmanned drones.
Yugoslavia said one of the NATO strikes hits a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees under Serb police escort, killing at least 64 people. NATO confirmed its aircraft carried out attacks on Yugoslav military vehicles, but says it has no reports that they caused civilian casualties.
On Albania's border with Yugoslavia, Serb forces shelled a deserted Albanian village they had briefly seized on April 13.
The first of 24 US AH-64 helicopters arrived in Albania. Almost all of the 82 US planes sent as reinforcements were arriving in Europe.
Refugees fleeing Kosovo reported to relief workers that Yugoslav helicopters and airplanes have been attacking refugee convoys in the Serbian province. The Pentagon said it had no direct evidence that an attack on a convoy on April 14 was committed by the Yugoslavs. The Serbs claimed that the convoy was hit by NATO bombs.
At a European Union meeting, Germany unveiled a plan calling for a one-day suspension of airstrikes if Yugoslavia begins withdrawing troops from Kosovo. But EU leaders set the idea aside in favor of a similar initiative by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Day 21 - Tuesday, April 13, 1999
Yugoslavia's biggest oil refinery, at Pancevo just across the Danube River from Belgrade, was hit late Monday and early today. Six NATO missiles hit an oil depot and plastics factory near Pristina. NATO missiles struck the state fuel giant Jugopetrol. In the north, an oil depot outside Sombor, and another major refinery at Novi Sad were targeted.
NATO hit the biggest Yugoslav satellite station, in Prilike, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Apparently, one of three large dishes was destroyed and the other two badly damaged.
Serb infantry troops crossed into Albania. They briefly seized control of a border village, and fought a running battle with border police and Albanian soldiers. Prior to the incursion, the village had been shelled by the Serbs for several days. Belgrade denied any incursion into Albania. Yugoslavia has been reinforcing positions along the borders with both Albania and Macedonia, preparing for a possible ground attack by NATO.
US president Clinton announced the air campaign would be taken to the next level, after he had asked Congress to give the NATO attack more time to smash Serb forces instead of pushing for consideration of sending US ground troops into Kosovo.
Britain announced it will deploy 1,800 more troops in Macedonia and Greece. It will bring the number of British troops to 6,300, mainly in Macedonia, as a part of the 12,000-strong NATO force.
Italy announced it will deploy 2,000 troops in Albania for NATO's humanitarian aid effort to help Kosovo refugees.
NATO commander Clark requested 300 more US aircraft as well as additional air power from other NATO allies. Now, nearly 500 US aircraft and 200 allied planes are involved. NATO is flying 450 to 500 sorties a day.
NATO confirmed an allied bomb struck a train at a rail bridge target, 180 miles south of Belgrade. NATO said the bridge the train was crossing was the intended target.
Bosnian airports that were closed since the start of the NATO air strikes will be reopened to civil flight operations during daylight hours. Carlos Westendorp argued that the no-fly zone over Bosnia would do no good to the commercial health of the country.
Russia said it will send more navy vessels to the Mediterranean and it considered pulling out Russian peacekeepers from Bosnia. Earlier, Russia suspended all contacts with NATO, and removed all soldiers from NATO command in Bosnia. The Washington Post reported that that has little meaning, since the Russian forces depend on NATO logistical support.
Day 20 - Monday, April 12, 1999
NATO bombed Serbia's industrial heartland, hitting one of Yugoslav's biggest oil refinery near Pancevo and fuel storage depots. The factory that makes Yugo cars — housed in the Zastava complex in Kragujevac, 45 miles southwest of Belgrade was hit again. The factory also makes military vehicles and other weapons.
The city of Novi Sad was targeted. Serb media said a heating plant in Krusevac was hit, and the biggest heavy-machinery plant in the Balkans. Nearby Batajnica, site of a military airfield, was also hit, Serb media said.
State media claimed NATO struck a passenger train near Leskovac — 180 miles south of Belgrade. There was no immediate confirmation from NATO. It was said about 20 people were killed.
Serb media claim so far 300 civilians have been killed due to the NATO air strikes, but there is no way this figure could be independently verified.
Yugoslavia's state news agency reported that about 150 KLA rebels were "liquidated" in a battle with Yugoslav forces near the Albanian border.
NATO said ground troops will only enter the province in a "permissive environment," either as part of a NATO implementation force or to escort refugees back into Kosovo.
The UK newspaper Sunday Telegraph said 80 British commandos have infiltrated Kosovo to direct NATO bombers to Serb police and military units, and identify massacre sites and "death squad" commanders.
NATO dropped 2.5 million leaflets over the weekend explaining to Serbs why their country is under attack.
Albanian foreign minister Paskal Milo said the country has handed over control of its airspace, ports and military infrastructure to NATO and is ready to accept more ground troops.
The conflict spilled over into Albania again. In the border town of Tropoja, heavy mortar fire hit border police headquarters and a residential neighborhood, killing two people and wounding nine
Day 19 - Sunday, April 11, 1999
Serb media said a missile struck a residential area in Novi Sad, but NATO said there were surface-to-air missile production and storage facilities in the area.
NATO showed aerial images of what it said was a possible freshly dug mass gravesite at Pusto Selo, outside Pristina. The ground appeared to be freshly dug and the pictures resembled those of mass graves seen during the war in Bosnia.
Day 18 - Saturday, April 10, 1999
Yugoslavia's official news agency Tanjug said an RTS television transmitter atop Mt. Goles near Pristina was hit, stopping broadcasts in Kosovo. NATO said the Serb TV station may have shared facilities with the military radio transmitter but it was not the intended target.
Hours later, air-raid sirens sounded in Belgrade for the first time during daylight.
About half of Yugoslavia's MiG-29 fighters have now been destroyed.
Bad weather forced cancellation of three of every four bombing missions, but some strikes were carried out by cruise missiles from US and British ships in the Adriatic Sea.
Multiple cruise missiles struck the city of Pristina.
At least one bomb intended for a telephone headquarters in the Kosovo capital Pristina missed its target earlier this week and hit nearby houses. Mobile and landline telephones in Kosovo were hit. A railway station in the town of Kosovo Polje was hit, and the airport at Slatina, southwest of Pristina. NATO also said it had hit a microwave relay and oil production and storage depots near Pristina and at Smederevo and Valjevo near Belgrade.
Serb television said the town of Prizren was hit by six missiles and the town of Urosevac was hit by four missiles, hitting military barracks. bombs caused "considerable" damage in the western town of Pec and had hit the old residential part of Djakovica, near the border with Albania.
Serb television also reported that a missile had been destroyed by Serbian air defenses 10 km south of Pristina.
NATO said it severely damaged nearly 150 major targets.
US president Clinton came under increasing pressure from Congress members to use ground troops in Kosovo. Canada has also raised the possibility of using ground forces in Kosovo despite Clinton's opposition. Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov told the Turkish press that he would not allow a land offensive into Kosovo to be launched from his country.
The Pentagon announced plans to commit 24 more F-16 fighters armed with HARM anti-radar missiles, four more tank-busting A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft, six radar-jamming EA-6B Prowlers, 39 KC-135 and two KC-10 refueling tanker aircraft and seven C-130 transport planes. The Pentagon also raised the possible need for the president to call up military reserves. The total NATO air fleet now approaches 700 planes.
Pentagon officials said it could take 30 days for all 24 Apaches made available earlier to become operational.
Britain announced it is sending the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible to the Adriatic
Jane's Defense Weekly reported that the USA's supply of cruise missiles has dwindled dangerously low. The stock of Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles fell to less than 100 last week with the firing of at least 30 during the first week of operations. The B-52H is capable of carrying 20 CALCM but have been fitted with a maximum of eight. Boeing was rushed to convert stockpiles of nuclear-tipped missiles to conventional warheads.
The US Navy is started to get low on Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. Before Operation Allied Force the Navy had about 2,000 TLAMs.
Day 17 - Friday, April 9, 1999
NATO warplanes struck a fuel depot, a weapons and automotive complex, and communications facilities, despite worsening weather conditions. More bad weather was forecasted.
The Pentagon accused Serb troops of herding ethnic Albanian Kosovar women into Serb military camps and raping them.
Day 16 - Thursday, April 8, 1999
Amongst the targets were Yugoslav government troops in the hills of Kosovo. Serb television reported that 6 missiles struck the town of Cuprija, 55 miles south of Belgrade. In Belgrade loud explosions were heard in a densely populated neighborhood. On a major road from the main railway station a huge plume of dust and smoke could be seen after the strike. This is near the avenue where most foreign embassies are located. A vacant seven-story military building was hit. In Pristina, the police headquarters were hit.
Gun-camera video footage showed an F-117A stealth hitting a bridge at Novi Sad while people stood on its span, most likely in protest. Officials said no one was injured in the bombing. The bridge was disabled by taking out only one end.
US A-10 warplanes attacked Serb armored vehicles. There was growing concern that ethnic Albanian refugees could get in the way.
At the NATO debriefing Air Commodore David Wilby said "NATO has certainly not caused the reported widespread and random damage which we believe has been orchestrated by Serbian forces."
French RTL radio reported that KLA forces are using a satellite telephone to help NATO identify Serb targets.
Serb media said ethnic Albanians were "voluntarily" heading back into Kosovo.
The Cyprus acting president left Athens for Belgrade in an attempt to try to persuade Milosevic to set the three US soldiers free. The hardline Serbian vice premier Vojislav Seselj said that freeing the three was out of the question and that the soldiers should be tried as terrorists.
Day 15 - Wednesday, April 7, 1999
NATO rejected a Serb cease fire. Initially, there were signs that the three captured US soldiers would be released. The former president of Cyprus said "I have to meet with President Milosevic. The exchanges have been very constructive so far and the indications are that this mission will succeed."
NATO hit dozens of military targets and "fielded forces in and around Kosovo". Weapons were dropped on a column of seven to 12 vehicles. For the first time in the campaign, the A-10 was used to strike targets. Administrative buildings in the center of Prestina were hit. According to Serb media, at least 10 were killed and 8 injured.
A fuel storage facility at the airport near Pristina was hit. Targets were hit in Uzice — 75 miles southwest of Belgrade, near Kraljevo — 75 miles south of Belgrade, and at Pancevo and Cacak, where a munitions depot is located. A missile struck a residential district in Podgorica, capital of the Yugoslav republic Montenegro. No injuries were reported.
The Pentagon confirmed the loss of a twin-engine unmanned Hunter reconnaissance plane — apparently shot down by Serb forces. The $300,000 US Army aircraft was used as a surveillance aid that can transmit real-time video images to battlefield commanders.
There was evidence of Serb units that had to go into holding operations or holding patterns because of shortages of fuel and ammunition.
Milosevic said relief organizations were welcome back in Kosovo, probably hoping they would shield the region — and the police and army forces stationed there — from further NATO attacks.
The US announced that its naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, would be a temporary "safe haven" for up to 20,000 Kosovar refugees.
Day 14 - Tuesday, April 6, 1999
With clear weather, NATO sent 4 waves of air attacks over Yugoslavia. Targets included military barracks, fuel depots, an oil refinery in Novi Sad, roads, a power station, a relay station near Pristina, and bridges. NATO said there was evidence one of its weapons accidentally struck short of its target in the ming town Aleksinac. The Yugoslav government quickly and harshly condemned the accident. Brig. Gen. Xavier Delcourt — the deputy chief of operations of the French forces — said NATO would carry out even more intense and massive strikes, "greater than anything done so far."
Serb media reported that 300 civilians were killed and 3,000 injured in the NATO bombing campaign.
Milosevic announced a unilateral cease-fire and offered to allow ethnic Albanians back into Kosovo. US president Clinton said the Western alliance is not about to ease up.
British officials estimated 1.1 million out of 1.8 million Kosovars were driven from their homes by ethnic cleansing.
Day 13 - Monday, April 5, 1999
Amongst the targets were military command centers, fuel supplies, airports, and air defense installations around Belgrade and central Yugoslavia. An army barracks in Raska, a town 100 miles south of Belgrade was hit, a fuel depot near Sombar, as well as an oil depot in Pristina. CNN reported that NATO cruise missiles struck the headquarters of the Yugoslav air force in the northwest Belgrade district of Zemun. Belgrade authorities reported that the city's largest heating plant was destroyed. Serb television also reported that military targets in the industrial zone of Nis were hit. Serb media said that a bridge over the Ibar River connecting Kosovo with neighboring Montenegro took a direct hit. Another bridge, by Lake Gazivode was also hit. Twenty-five cruise missiles were fired at Yugoslav targets.
The US were preparing the deployment of 24 Apache attack helicopters of the 11th Aviation Regiment, sophisticated rocket system artillery (to provide protection against Serb air defenses) and about 2,000 soldiers to Albania. The Pentagon denied that this was one step closer to sending ground troops to Kosovo — though support for ground troops is swelling in the US.
NATO agreed that the 12,000 NATO troops in Macedonia — originally intended as peace keeping forces in case of a peace agreement — will be used to assist in the humanitarian effort.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group joined NATO forces in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. A total of 24 ships and submarines are now part of the US naval forces, half of which are capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.
A NATO Black Hawk helicopter flying on a routine mission apparently came under fire over Bosnian Serb territory, 10 miles southwest of the city of Doboj. NATO-led forces were investigating the incident and received assurances from the Bosnian Serb Army and local police that they will cooperate.
Day 12 - Sunday, April 4, 1999
NATO bombs struck three targets in Belgrade. Amongst the targets were a thermal heating plant in New Belgrade, the police academy in the Banjica suburb, a fuel depot 75 miles south of Belgrade, a power plant in the town of Pancevo, 10 miles northeast of Belgrade. Serb television reported that at least 3 people were injured during NATO strikes on an oil refinery at Kraljevo, in central Yugoslavia.
Day 11 - Saturday, April 3, 1999
For the first time, NATO hit the center of Belgrade. Eight cruise missiles hit symbolic targets. One of them was the Interior Ministry, which controls Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's special police forces.
The Freedom Bridge across the Danube River at Novi Sad — Yugoslavia's second largest city — was destroyed. Seven people were injured.
A bridge across the Danube river at Backa Palanka, 48 km west of Novi Sad — near Yugoslav's border with Croatia — was damaged.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, NATO-led peacekeeping forces blew up a crucial Yugoslav rail link connecting Serbia with the southern Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, preventing the Yugoslav military forces from traveling on the line. During the operation, the Western troops exchanged gunfire with two attackers shooting assault rifles. One of them was killed.
The Roosevelt entered the western Mediterranean Sea. It was decided to move the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk from the Western Pacific to the Persian Gulf to replace the USS Enterprise, that was scheduled to return to Norfolk mid-April. That will leave a carrier gap in Asia, despite fears of potential trouble in communist North Korea. Therefore, one F-15E fighter squadron and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and EA-6B electronic warfare planes are ready to deploy from the United States on short notice in the event of a crisis in Asia. The USS Constellation, in port at San Diego, is on alert for potential early deployment.
A US Air Force C-17 cargo plane left from Dover Air Force Base with 30,000 high-calorie packaged meals destined for Albania. Sleeping bags, tents, and cots were shipped to Albania.
Thirteen F-117A stealth fighter-bombers left Holloman Air Force Base to join NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia.
NATO said that an alliance-led force could enter Kosovo to return refugees, before any peace agreement would be established. It was the first time NATO considered troops in Kosovo before any agreement is signed.
Day 10 - Friday, April 2, 1999
The B-1 bomber was used for the first time in the conflict. The United States announced the use of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Mediterranean. The carrier had been scheduled to go to the Persian Gulf to replace the USS Enterprise and its battle group. General Clark also requested other resources, including AH-64 attack helicopters.
Day 9 - Thursday, April 1, 1999
The British claimed that the Yugoslav Army was running short of fuel.
The American Predator unmanned surveillance aircraft began flying over Yugoslavia.
Day 8 - Wednesday, March 31, 1999
Bad weather forced NATO to scratch many attack missions. NATO expanded the targets in Yugoslavia, possibly hitting communication and control centers in Belgrade. The British said that half of the Serbian MiG-29 fighters were destroyed. In total, 70 targets were hit.
At least eight cruise missiles were fired from US ships in the Adriatic about midnight, and the Pentagon dispatched 13 F-117A stealth fighters to the region to join 11 of the radar-evading planes already operating over Yugoslavia (the 13th to replace the one shot down on March 27, 1999).
The Pentagon dispatched twelve more F-117s to the region.
Three US army soldiers on patrol along Macedonia's border with Kosovo were captured by the Serbs.
Day 7 - Tuesday, March 30, 1999
There were unconfirmed reports indicating that refugees were hit with mortar and artillery fire in Kosovo. The Pentagon ordered five additional B-1 bombers from Ellsworth (South Dakota) and additional Navy EA-6B air defense-jamming planes and refueling tankers to Europe for intensified airstrikes.
Day 6 - Monday, March 29, 1999
British Harriers struck an ammunition storage facility near Pristina. NATO started striking around the clock. The airport at Podgorica was attacked.
[Map: Edited image Washington Post]
March 28, 1999: targets struck so far
Day 5 - Sunday, March 28, 1999
The Pentagon added 6 to 12 more planes, including B-52 long-range bombers, as well as 12 more fighters and light bombers. The Royal Air Force added 12 more planes and a tanker.
At around 2200 local time, F-117A 82-0806 was shot down by a Serbian SA-6 missile, 40 km west of Belgrade. A Combat SAR unit rescued the pilot only hours after his plane went down.
A total of 253 sorties was flown by 66 aircraft. Seventeen major targets were struck, including 11 in the region of Belgrade. he targets were mostly parts of Yugoslavia's integrated air defense system and command-and-control headquarters, and headquarters of Serbia special police units.
NATO started a second phase in the air strikes. Targets included direct attacks on Yugoslav tanks and troops and Serb special police forces.
Day 3 - Friday, March 26, 1999
Two Serb MiG-29 fighters were downed by two US F-15Cs. This occurred between 1606-1610 zulu, in the vicinity of Tuzla, as part of Operation Deny Flight. The MiG fighters subsequently violated Bosnian airspace. SFOR troops captured the pilots in Bosnia.
In total, 249 sorties were flown. For the first time — at around 14:20 local time — a Tomahawk missile was fired during daylight, by the USS Philippine Sea.
[Image: Jane's Defense Group]
March 25, 1999: Dutch MiG killmark painted
on Dutch F-16AM at Amendola, Italy
Day 2 - Thursday, March 25, 1999
Three Serbian Mig-29 fighters were downed, two by US F-16s and one by a Dutch F-16. NATO used 64 air planes and struck 50 targets, most air defense and related. So far, 400 sorties were flown since the start of the air strikes.
Day 1 - Wednesday, March 24, 1999
On the first day of the attacks, 120 sorties were flown in total. Around 100 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles were fired at Serbian targets. In total, 40 targets were hit including a military airport and an aircraft plant near Belgrade. The US used two B-2 stealth bombers, each carrying 16 satellite-guided 1-ton bombs. The planes took off from the US.