Tuesday, June 8, 1999 - The US was preparing the positioning a contingent of 2,000 Marines in Macedonia when the Greek government (Greece is a NATO member) blocked the Marines from landing at an Aegean port. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard three Navy ships, remained just outside Greece's territorial waters, awaiting a go-ahead from Athens.
Wednesday, June 9, 1999 - The Pentagon said that reconnaissance photographs showed evidence that Serb troops tried to hide the site of a massacre in west-central Kosovo. Accounts from ethnic Albanian refugees seemed to back that up. About a half-dozen more sites were identified earlier.
[Image: US DoD]
First wave of US Marines arriving
at Litohoro by LCACs from USS Kearsarge
Thursday, June 10, 1999 - NATO and Yugoslav military leaders signed a pact. In an air campaign that lasted 78 days NATO planes flew over 34,000 missions over Yugoslavia. 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. NATO planes continued to fly over Kosovo without dropping ordnance. The Serbs were given eleven days to pull out.
US marines were allowed to land in Greece, after a two-day delay. Some 4,000 US troops were heading toward Kosovo.
Friday, June 11, 1999 - Serb forces started withdrawing from Kosovo. As a result, NATO put the air strikes on hold. Yugoslavia was given ten days to pull out.
The independent Beta news agency said about 20 carloads of Serb civilians joined the convoy, their vehicles packed with luggage. They were apparently fearful of living in the ethnic Albanian-majority province without army and police protection.
Members of Britain's elite Gurkha rifle regiment were awaiting orders along the border with Macedonia. They would be followed by French and other NATO troops. US Marines and Army soldiers began arriving in northern Macedonia, where thousands of allied forces stood ready to begin their Kosovo mission. Allied troops were expected to move in in a few days.
Russian SFOR vehicles — with
hasty drawn KFOR markings on
them — on their way to
A Russian convoy of some 200 troops and 48 trucks and armed vehicles stationed in Bosnia as part of SFOR — with hasty drawn KFOR markings on them — headed toward Kosovo, intensifying the debate about Moscow's role in the peacekeeping force. The Russian move caught NATO by surprise, causing confusion.
US president Clinton warned Serbs that the United States would not help them rebuild from bombing "as long as your nation is ruled by an indicted war criminal."
The Security Council approved a resolution authorizing a peacekeeping force of as many as 50,000 troops. The vote was 14-0, with China abstaining. China blamed NATO for not operating without UN consent.
Saturday, June 12, 1999 - NATO moved slowly through the rugged terrain but the tempo accelerated once flat ground was reached. The convoy moved cautiously for fear of Serb mines. Along the Macedonian border, a French team was held up to clear mines. Some 200 Germans and some Americans crossed the border as well. Later, 8,500 Germans were expected to arrive. The US Marines were expected Sunday.
British troops disarmed about 30 Serb paramilitary policemen.
British troops reached Pristina at around 1600. Other NATO units reached Pristina airport.
The first confrontation, rather than cooperation, with Russian forces was a fact. In Pristina, NATO peacekeeping forces met the Russian forces at Pristina airport who beat them to the city by three hours. Tension was described when the 200 Russian troops, supported by Serbs, tried to bar British forces from the airport. In a show of strength, US AH-64 helicopters, British Chinook helicopters, and US Challenger I tanks were ordered forward. An agreement on the joint use of the airport could not be reached. Many Serbs in Kosovo feared that NATO would not be able or willing to protect them from the KLA and Albanian refugees.
It was Russian president Yeltsin who ordered his troops to move to Pristina ahead of NATO forces. Moscow feared it would not play the important role it had in mind and was not particularly interested in smooth relations with NATO. Russian Lt Gen Viktor Zavarzin, the commander who led the Russian contingent into Kosovo overnight, was quickly promoted so he had the same rank as British KFOR commander Jackson. Confusion was also caused when Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that there was an "unfortunate mistake" and that the forces were ordered to pull out of Kosovo "immediately" to await orders, but nothing happened. Apparently, there was either a serious communication problem down the Russian chain of command or Russia never really planned to pull out.
Russian generals demanded a separate zone within Kosovo under Russian control. NATO strongly opposed this, fearing creation of a zone in Kosovo where Serbs might still be able to exercise authority. Russian General Leonid Ivashov said "If we do not reach an agreement (with the United States), we will work out with Yugoslavia the sector we will control." This was not particularly favored by NATO. The West believed Moscow was too pro-Serb to run any zone impartially. It would discourage ethnic Albanian refugees from resettling.
(Note: The Allied Force commander — UK General Sir Mike Jackson — was replaced after overruling the NATO Supreme Commander, refusing to prevent Russian forces from taking Pristina airport, reportedly saying to US Lieutenant General Clark: "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you." In March 2000 Jackson stated that a confrontation with the Russian contingent would not have been a right way to start peacekeeping operations. According to the US magazine Newsweek General Jackson refused orders to send an air assault team into Pristina airport to block Russian forces who unexpectedly seized it when the NATO bombardment ended.)
NATO said that about 10,000 Serb personnel had left Kosovo, along with 11 MiG-29s from Pristina airport.
British NATO troops killed a Serbian policeman in Prizren who fired on them.
Sunday, June 13, 1999 - German KFOR troops in the Prizren sector killed at least one Serb who shot at them from a car. A German soldier suffered an arm wound. Grenades and semi-automatic weapons were found in the car.
Unknown gunmen killed two German journalists from the magazine "Stern" near Duha. A third German journalist was killed near Prizren.
Several days earlier than expected, the first US military contingent of 150 troops crossed into Kosovo from Macedonia in tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
Some Serbs and Russians tried to prevent more NATO troops from entering the Pristina airport, a day after some British troops were given access.
Serb army general Nebojsa Pavkovic — commander of the Third Army responsible for southern Serbia — warned that his troops would move back into Kosovo if the peace agreement would break down.
Monday, June 14, 1999 - Romania refused a Russian request to allow overflight transportation of troops to Kosovo without prior approval of those flights by the UN Security Council.
Ethnic Albanians alerted KFOR peacekeepers on several freshly-dug graves near Kacanik. Forensic experts from the Hague-based war crimes tribunal were requested. Local civilians told reporters that Serbian forces brutally killed an unspecified number of ethnic Albanians in May.
Tuesday, June 15, 1999 - The impasse over the 200-300 Russian troops at Pristina's airport continued.
French forces were positioned at Gnjilane; the Germans were operating in and around Prizren; the Italians established its HQ in Pec; US units in Task Force Falcon arrived at Gnjilane where they relieved French forces.
The influential Serbian Orthodox Church called for Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic to step down. It was revealed that US envoy Robert Gelbard told prominent opponents of Milosevic that the United States is ready to help them, but made clear it was up to them to remove the Yugoslav leader.
Several mass graves were discovered, as well as many burnt houses with charred bodies.
Ethnic Albanian KLA rebels — which are supposed to be demilitarized — took in key areas. About 60 KLA guerrillas took over the Morini crossing point on the Albanian-Yugoslav border.
Serbs on their way out of Kosovo were torching buildings of ethnic Albanians.
The first comprehensive 148-page report showed that one in every three refugee households reported some kind of physical abuse. The overwhelming majority — 91 percent — said they left Kosovo because Serbs forced them to do so — not because of NATO's bombing campaign. The report was based on interviews of 1,180 refugees in 31 camps in Albania and Macedonia over a two-week period in late April and early May.
Wednesday, June 16, 1999 - Hundreds of starving internally displaced people came down from hills near Serbka on 15 June, after they spotted Western journalists. They were unaware that NATO had entered the province.
NATO forces came upon or heard about 90 suspected mass grave sites.
Serb forces were given an extra day to remove their forces out of Kosovo.
The issue with the Russian troops at Pristina airport remained unresolved. US State Department official James Dobbins said: "It's mischievous, it's uncoordinated, it's unhelpful. But it's not more than that." He said the dispatch of peacekeepers without notifying NATO raised questions about "the longer-term course in Russia." (...) "It may well have been authorized at the highest levels of the Russian government, but it clearly was not coordinated with the Russian government. The ministry of foreign affairs clearly was uninformed and unhappy with the result."
Jeane Kirkpatrick — a former US ambassador to the United Nations — praised the way the US Clinton administration was handling the situation. But, she said, "It is important to find out who is in charge in Moscow. Are there rogue military commanders? Clearly, someone in Moscow is working closely with someone in Belgrade."
Thursday, June 17, 1999 - NATO said 11 Serbian T-55 tanks fired on unspecified ethnic Albanian villages north of the Kosovar capital. There are still 11,000 Serb troops in Kosovo. By June 20 they should have left.
About 26,000 refugees — most of them from Albania — returned to Kosovo, despite UNHCR warnings on the precarious security situation. Red Cross officials said already 20 mine-related incidents were reported.
Many Serbs left Kosovo, being afraid of retaliation by ethnic Albanians. KFOR commander Gen Jackson urged the Serb civil population to stay. Serb police and soldiers urged them to leave.
NATO said Zone I was clear of Yugoslav forces. Of the 40,000 Serb troops, 26,000 left Kosovo, together with 110 tanks, 210 Armored Personnel Carriers, and 151 artillery pieces. By next Sunday they all should have left.
NATO said its headquarters in Pristina was operational. KFOR numbered around 15,000: US 2,000; Canadian 307; UK 7209; Italian 1,111; German 1,747; French 1,474; Greek 107; and Dutch 159.
British KFOR troops found evidence in a police station in Pristina of the systematic torture of prisoners by [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic's police in a cellar. Officials discovered so many mass graves and killing sites that they estimated at least 10,000 people were killed in the Serb crackdown against ethnic Albanians. The evidence is likely to add to calls for the arrest of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Clinton said that peacekeepers will take a "wait and see" approach toward Milosevic's arrest.
US Marines disarmed a group of 117 KLA troops and arrested six KLA leaders who refused to surrender their weapons. Cobra attack helicopters were used in the process of convincing them. The KLA openly brought weapons in from Albania. Under the peace agreement they should be disarmed. It is suspected that the KLA leaders do not control each and every unit.
No agreement was yet reached between the Americans and the Russians over the zone under Russian control as the Russians have been demanding. An official said an accord was reached on how Russians will work under NATO command and on arrangements for sharing peacekeeping duties at the Pristina airport.
Friday, June 18, 1999 - NATO said three-quarters of the Serb forces in Kosovo have now left, nearing completion of the peace deal.
Unlike NATO troops in Bosnia, NATO troops in Kosovo will take an active role in bringing suspected war criminals to justice under an agreement worked out today by allied nations and the international tribunal for Yugoslavia. Milosevic and four top aides were indicted last month on war crime charges.
NATO called in more allied military police to try to restore order. NATO said the officers would fill a vacuum left by the departure of the only police Kosovo had.
Some 33,000 Serb civilians left Kosovo. There were some 150,000 Serbs in Kosovo.
So far, 16,100 NATO troops are in Kosovo. A further 10,800 are in Macedonia.
As many refugees see no reason to stay in crowded camps, they cross the border with Kosovo from Albania and Macedonia. The United Nations made observation flights over parts of Kosovo and saw the majority of the houses was destroyed. The UN said they wanted to issue tents. There are many internally displaced persons who are hungry and exhausted.
Warehouses and offices in Pristina and Prizren were booby trapped by leaving Serb forces.
In Prizren, German peacekeepers taking over a KLA-held police station found 15 Gypsies and ethnic Albanians, many of them bruised and bloody and chained to radiators. They also found the corpse of an elderly man chained to a chair. He appeared to have died shortly before the Germans arrived. The police station could be a KLA torture chamber for alleged collaborators in Prizren. About 25 KLA members were detained.
In Skopje, Macedonia, a NATO truck that was parked outside NATO's main staging point was destroyed in a blast, caused by an explosive device planted under or near the truck.
In Montenegro, premier Filip Vujanovic said he will seek to redefine the republic's status within the Yugoslav federation and, if rejected, might even hold a referendum on its eventual independence. Montenegro's pro-Western President Milo Djukanovic blamed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's confrontational policies for NATO attacks.
Saturday, June 19, 1999 - After three days of tough negotiations, Russia agreed to place about 3,600 of its troops under NATO command as peacekeepers in Kosovo. This also opened the door to an expanded Russian representation in NATO's command structure. A Russian representative will be present at NATO's main headquarters in Brussels, at the headquarters Southern Europe in Napels, and at the headquarters for Kosovo.
Under the deal, the Russians will have 3,600 troops and 16 liaison officers. The troops will operate in three zones: the northern part of a sector controlled by US forces, the northwestern part of a sector under German control and a small piece of a French-controlled sector in the north.
Of the troops, 750 will be in the vicinity of the Pristina airport. A Russian will be designated commander of the airfield, but NATO will control air operations. The Russians will provide airfield maintenance and other support.
Moscow said that once NATO officially ends its bombing campaign, relations with NATO will be restored. At the beginning of the campaign March 24, Russia cut off relations with NATO.
In Belo Polje, near Pec, three Serbs were killed and a fourth badly wounded — each with a shot to the forehead. Near Gnjilane, in the US zone US Marines arrested a Serb for allegedly killing one man and wounding two others in a sniper attack.
In Pasjane, after KLA members pulled two Serbs from their car and beat them, a group of Serbs surrounded a US Marine checkpoint where the men were taken, demanding that peacekeepers protect them. NATO began to respond to those demands, setting up roadblocks in Pristina. Dozens of weapons were seized.
Some 3,000 to 5,000 Serb troops remained in Kosovo. They are expected to have left before the deadline expires next Sunday.
Peacekeeping officials met with the KLA to discuss the demilitarization of the KLA. NATO suggested they give up there heavy weapons over a 30-day period, and ban parades and uniforms. Mehmet Hajrizi, top KLA leader, said the KLA wants to transform into a security force for Kosovo.
Negotiations by the G8 in Cologne, Germany, on aid programs for Yugoslavia did not end in a solution. Russia opposes the western view that the Serb republic can not count on financial help as ling as Milosevic is in power. It was agreed that the summit's final communique would be silent about banning help for Milosevic because of Russia's refusal. The G8 leaders were prepared to offer Yeltsin a badly needed financial boost.
Another suspected mass grave site was found just outside the village of Izbica. People who escaped the alleged massacre say that as many as 150 bodies may be buried.
Sunday, June 20, 1999 - 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.
During the G8 summit in Cologne, Germany, NATO negotiators reached an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation Army that called on the rebels to turn over their heavy weapons. KLA fighters in the western city of Pec stopped carrying the rifles and assault weapons. They will also stop wearing uniforms.
Serbs are still leaving Kosovo. The Yugoslav government tried to urge many of them to go back to Kosovo and at the same time prevented the establishment of tent camps near Belgrade. A group of some 200 Serbs from Kosovo that did make it to Belgrade, demonstrated openly. This new type of refugees might fuel Milosevic's opponents, calling for urgent reforms to qualify Serbia for international aid.
Ethnic Albanians looted and set fire to 20 Serb houses in the village of Grace, near Pristina. An explosive device in a courtyard of Pristina University caused a loud explosion, rocking the city. In the city of Mitrovica, French paratroopers held back an angry crowd of ethnic Albanians, preventing them from entering an apartment complex where about a dozen Serb families still live.
Monday, June 21, 1999 - The Belgrade government asked the parliament to end the state of war it imposed on March 24, 1999.
British troops clearing land mines and booby traps from a school 20 miles west of Pristina set off an explosion that killed two Gurkha riflemen and two civilians — the first allied fatalities since the start of KFOR.
The KLA rebels agreed to a broad demilitarization that will require them to leave their checkpoints and halt any military activity unless the peacekeepers approve it first. Although they can keep their personal weapons, they agreed not to use explosives, to put the remaining weapons in storage sites verified by NATO, and to clear mine fields and booby-traps within seven days.
Earlier, Sergio Vieira de Mello — the UN official who essentially becomes Kosovo's governor under the peace deal — had expressed concern Sunday that KLA activities could undermine his authority. Vieira de Mello's primary tasks include getting electricity, water and other municipal services working again across Kosovo, re-establishing civilian courts and police forces, and preparing for elections.
Tuesday, June 22, 1999 - KLA hardliner Rustem Mustafa said "the agreement does not demand that we give up our arms. The arms will be gathered at certain places and the KLA will take care of them while NATO has a right to observe them." He was one of the KLA rebels opposing the Rambouillet agreement. The KLA and NATO will have joint control over weapons storehouses for 90 days, after which the insurgent army is to disband.
Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro's president, asked President Clinton for protection for non-Albanians in Kosovo following the departure of Serbian troops. He referred to reprisal attacks by ethnic Albanians against Serbs and Montenegrins in revenge for the devastation caused by Serb-led Yugoslav forces. Djukanovic said Montenegro is ready to provide all logistical support to the "forces which will secure stability in Kosovo and Yugoslavia."
Serving as a test case, Italian NATO troops escorted a 50-car convoy of Serb refugees back to their homes in Pec, in western Kosovo. Rifles, guns, and grenades were confiscated. Pec had a pre-war population of 100,000, 70-80 percent ethnic-Albanian. UNHCR estimated there were only 2,000 people in the city.
In downtown Pristina, two men opened fire on a Serb civilian, wounding him. In Prizren, German soldiers arrested a KLA fighter on a routine weapons check. The man was later identified by locals as being a torturer at an alleged KLA torture chamber.
Wednesday, June 22, 1999 - The Pentagon announced the return of 12 B-52 bombers from the UK to the US. In the coming weeks, 400 planes were expected to return. The US Navy announced that the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt will leave the Mediterranean and head for the Persian Gulf in July. The USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group will leave the Persian Gulf and return to its home station in Japan, filling a carrier gap in the western Pacific that has existed since early April. The USS Constellation left the US and is expected to relieve the USS Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf in September.
Reports of ethnic tension kept coming in. In one village, Italian peacekeepers sent in soldiers to escort a Serb family out of their home. In Kosovska Mitrovica, French peacekeepers looked on as Serbs menaced those wanting to cross a bridge to the other side of town. The French peacekeepers at the bridge said it was not up to them to ensure safe passage to the other side of town.
In the southwestern village of Novake, ethnic Albanians seeking revenge looted 50 Serb houses and set them on fire Wednesday before German troops were able to reach the community.
Disgruntled Yugoslav army reservists blocked roads in central Serbia, demanding back pay for service during the bombing campaign.
US Marines killed one Serb and wounded two others in a gun battle.
June 24: damaged embassy
Thursday June 24, 1999 - New information suggested that the CIA knew that the Chinese embassy was not the intended target, days before it was attacked by NATO on May 7 in Operation Allied Force. A mid-level CIA analyst questioned the reliability of the information available. The embassy had some similarities with the intended target, the Yugoslav Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement. His concerns never reached senior officials on time.
The Yugoslv parliament approved a proposal to lift the state of war over Kosovo on June 26. Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic called for an end to all international sanctions imposed on the country and requested it be readmitted to the United Nations. At the same time, the US pressed the issue of war crimes, offering a reward of up to $5 million to encourage the arrest of alleged Yugoslav war criminals, including President Slobodan Milosevic. In Belgrade, former Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic also called for Milosevic's resignation, saying it was vital as a first step toward political change.
US law enforcement agents prepared to start their investigation of one massacre site in western Kosovo. FBI investigators were on the scene in Djakovica, where Serb forces allegedly massacred ethnic Albanians in April.
It was estimated that approximately 50,000 Serbs from Kosovo fled the province to Serbia after the withdrawal of Serb troops.
UNHCR estimated that of the 860,000 refugees that fled Kosovo, more than 300,000 returned, despite repeated warnings on unexploded bombs, uncleared mine fields and booby traps. It was the largest spontaneous return of refugees over the past 25 years.
US Marines killed one person and wounded two others after coming under fire. The Marines called in attack helicopters, and the assailants, armed with AK-47s, surrendered.
Saturday June 26, 1999 - In Pusto Selo, villagers claim Serb police exhumed the bodies of 106 massacre victims to cover up their crimes. On April 9, NATO surveillance planes photographed what appeared to be a line of freshly turned earth. After the NATO photos were published, along with accounts of survivors, Serb troops returned on April 21 and began exhuming the bodies and loading them on trucks.
The Yugoslav government turned over 166 ethnic Albanian prisoners.
An advance contingent of Russian troops — 21 paratroopers and 21 technicians — arrived at Slatina Airport, Pristina.
In the southern town of Lipljane, British soldiers arrested a member of the Serbian Interior Ministry police. He was accused of involvement in 56 deaths in Kosovo.
Two of the three Chinese killed during Operation Allied Force on May 7, 1999 were intelligence agents, not journalists, according to the US. China always stated the three worked for the Xinhua news agency.
Wednesday, June 28, 1999 - Three Russian cargo planes carrying troops, weapons and airport equipment left for Kosovo today as part of Moscow's peacekeeping efforts.
Tuesday, June 29, 1999 - Some 3,735 Kosovo rebels began handing in weapons under the June 21 demilitarization agreement with KFOR — about a quarter of the total number of KLA soldiers. They are also to vacate their military positions. The KLA plans to transform itself into a political movement in advance of elections for a transitional government in the province.
In an attempt to prevent attacks on Serb and Gypsy properties by ethnic Albanians seeking revenge, German peacekeepers imposed a 22:00 to 06:00 curfew in Prizren.
US Sate Secretary Albright said NATO's attacks on Yugoslavia should not send a signal that the alliance will intervene in other conflicts. Before the attacks started, the Clinton administration suggested NATO members should consider expanding NATO's reach beyond Europe as a way of maintaining an important post-Cold War role in the world. Most European nations oppose such an idea.
|Refugees (July 1, 1999)|
Thursday, July 1, 1999 - Commander of the US peace keepers warned that there still is a continuing threat from Serb paramilitaries who remained in the province in violation of a peace agreement that required all Yugoslav forces be gone. Brig Gen John Craddock said US forces were investigating reports that Serb paramilitaries are still operating in Kosovo.
German troops found the graves of 119 people whom villagers said were murdered by Serbs during a sweep through Celine and Nagafc on March 25.
In the Serbian city of Cacak, 10,000 Serbs protested and demanded Milosevic's resignation.
Friday, July 2, 1999 - Dutch forces took into custody six armed Yugoslav policemen broadcasting clandestinely in Urosevac. American peacekeepers arrested five Serb soldiers who claimed they strayed across the border into Kosovo. All Yugoslav forces should have left by June 20.
French peacekeepers arrested a man they said they believed to be the leader of Serbs blocking access to a Serb-controlled side of Kosovska Mitrovica.
The UN appointed France's health minister, Bernard Kouchner, to run the UN civilian administration in Kosovo.
In Novi-Sad, 5,000 people demonstrated against the government.
British troops killed two revelers in Pristina.
Saturday, July 3, 1999 - British paratroopers shot and killed two revelers Pristina, where ethnic Albanians celebrated the ninth anniversary of their unrecognized declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Some fired guns into the air, and one group apparently fired too close to the British peacekeepers.
Russia asked Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria for use of their airspace to fly 10 planeloads of peacekeepers on Sunday into Pristina. The three nations rejected the request after consulting with top American and NATO officials. Given Russia's surprise deployment of 200 troops to Pristina airport last month and an unusual military exercise last week in which American F-15 jets intercepted Russian Tupelov-95 Bear fighter-bombers near Iceland, US Administration officials said they were in no mood for more surprises from Russia.
Croatia filed charges against Yugoslavia in the World Court, accusing it of genocide and ethnic cleansing, saying that Yugoslavia's involvement in Croatia's 1991 war was a breach of the Genocide Convention. In 1991, Croatia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia. Croatia estimated that 20,000 people died, 55,000 were wounded and 3,000 disappeared.
Sunday, July 4, 1999 - The first 130 of 1,000 Turkish troops arrived in Prizren, in the German sector. Greece objected to the deployment. Turks were pushed from Kosovo in 1912 after half a millennium of Ottoman rule.
|Refugees (July 5, 1999)|
Monday, July 5, 1999 - About 10,000 protesters took to the streets in the southern Serbian city of Leskovac to call for the ouster of a local politician who is a member of the ruling party of President Slobodan Milosevic.
Tuesday, July 6, 1999 - A Russian Il-76 cargo plane with some 200 peacekeepers, 20 vehicles and 20 tons of other cargo arrived in Pristina after NATO and Russia reached an agreement in Moscow. The Russian reinforcements can patrol in Kosovsko Kamenica in the northern sector of the area controlled by American troops, in Orahovac and Malisevo in the northwestern part of the German area and in Lausa in the French sector. Originally, the Russians wanted to be able to operate throughout large swaths of Kosovo, while NATO wanted to restrict the Russians to certain areas, limiting the chance that the close ties between Russia and Serbia could lead to partitioning of areas of Kosovo.
Wednesday, July 7, 1999 - A Canadian helicopter was fired on, but not hit, during a routine patrol over Pristina.
During a march of 5,000 ethnic Albanians crossed a bridge to the Serbs part of Kosovska Mitrovica. French KFOR troops intervened when both groups pelted each other with rocks and burned flags. Six people were arrested. Until then, French peacekeepers always barred ethnic Albanians from making protest marches across the bridge.
Yugoslav opposition leaders called for daily protests demanding the resignation of President Slobodan Milosevic, who is widely blamed by the public for the damage inflicted on the country by NATO bombing and the virtual loss of Kosovo.
Friday, July 9, 1999 - Following other cities — amongst which Novi Sad — the city assemblies of Nis and Sombor passed declarations calling for the resignation of President Slobodan Milosevic.
In the southern Serbian town of Prokuplje about 4,000 people demonstrated against Milosevic. In the city of Lescovak — 120 miles southeast of Belgrade — about 2,500 people demonstrated. Demonstrations are held almost daily throughout Yugoslavia.
NATO said that in the mountain village of Ljubenic — near Pec — the bodies of 350 people could be spread in valleys and gorges. The victims were apparently killed by Serb forces. Bad weather hampered the search.
Clinton administration officials received intelligence reports indicating that some Yugoslav opposition leaders were considering using asylum as a way to hasten Milosevic's removal from power. Defense Secretary William Cohen said Milosvic must not receive political asylum in any country.
Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen said his country planned to contribute more than $200 million for reconstruction and humanitarian aid over the next two years.
Saturday, July 10, 1999 - An advance unit of 86 Russian paratroopers and three armored personnel carriers arrived in Kosovska Kamenica in southeastern Kosovo in the US-controlled sector of Kosovo. Their headquarters will be a factory damaged by NATO bombs on the outskirts of Kosovska Kamenica, 20 miles southeast of Pristina and 10 miles northwest of US Camp Bondsteel near Gnjilane. About 100 of the 700 Russian troops left Pristina airport for Kosovska Kamenica.
Leaders of Montenegro — with Western promises for protection and the presence of NATO troops near its borders — were moving closer to independence from Yugoslavia. They said to deliver Milosevic to the UN war crimes tribunal if he should come to their republic. Montenegro also said it was not ruling out war if Milosevic's army tries to keep them in the Yugoslav fold. Montenegro has a growing, well-armed and organized police force of 15,000 men. Tensions between the police and the 25,000 Yugoslav army soldiers stationed in the republic have been growing, with frequent face offs that have threatened to escalate into firefights.
US Army troops of Task Force 1-26 that were taking over from the US Marines were fired upon in three incidents in and around Pristina. Occupants fired from a car — it is assumed at least one was killed. In another incident the soldiers were fired upon from a rooftop. In a third incident, troops responded to gunfire and grenade explosions in a building near the military police headquarters.
Sunday, July 11, 1999 - In the western Kosovo town of Orahovac, some 3,000 people demonstrated against the planned deployment of Russian peacekeepers.
Monday, July 12, 1999 - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressed his concern to US Defense Secratary on the 300,000 Hungarians in the Vojvodina area in northern Serbia.
Tuesday, July 13, 1999 - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a five-point plan to the Security Council. According to his proposal, the UN will soon take over "full authority" in Kosova and later devolve power to a local civilian administration. A crucial moment will come later this year, when a UN police force is slated to take over police functions from KFOR. Annan also pointed out the importance of setting up a new and impartial judiciary. Observers noted that a major weakness of the Bosnian peace settlement was that it left police and judicial functions in the hands of the three leading nationalist parties.
Wednesday, July 14, 1999 - An anti-tank mine explosion in Pristina in the French sector killed one person and critically wounded another. Residents had repeatedly removed mine warnings and barriers. In the past month, 27 people were killed in 61 confirmed mine incidents. According to the UN the total number of deaths was 170.
NATO's SACEUR said the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army was largely in compliance with demilitarization requirements — although officials said strife between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo continued.
Some 5,000 people attended a rally in the Vojvodina town of Subotica to call for Milosevic's resignation.
Senior US officials said they were not in favor of autonomy for the Vojvodina.
Thursday, July 15, 1999 - Ibrahim Rugova returned to Kosova from Italy via Macedonia.
Friday, July 16, 1999 - Ibrahim Rugova failed to show up for the first meeting of a UN-backed interim advisory council. He felt the number of seats his party was allotted was unfair. The group is strictly advisory, works on the basis of consensus, and has no real powers, but can address important issues.
Rugova lost much of his support during his absence from Kosovo during the NATO air strikes.
The UN advisory council agreed to form a delegation that will visit the towns of Gniljane in eastern Kosovo, Kosovska Mitrovica in the north and Orahovac in the southwest. All three towns have been plagued by ethnic clashes since the end of NATO airstrikes. They also agreed to quickly resolve disputes surrounding the staffing and work of Radio and Television Prishtina so that the station can go on the air as soon as possible.
The UNHCR says 662,000 refugees, almost all ethnic Albanians, have now returned to Kosovo, with 110,000 remaining in neighboring countries, and 90,000 elsewhere.
Hundreds of angry Yugoslav army reservists blocked central squares in the Serbian cities of Nis and Krusevac demanding long-overdue pay for their service in Kosovo during NATO airstrikes.
Switzerland said it will block any assets found belonging to 300 senior Yugoslav officials, bringing neutral Switzerland more in line with European Union policy. Switzerland already froze accounts that were linked to Yugoslavia's president Slobodan Milosevic and four other Serbian leaders indicted for war crimes. No money turned up, however.
Saturday, July 17, 1999 - Bogoljub Karic, a Serbian government minister without portfolio, said it was better for Montenegro to have full independence than autonomy with just 5 percent representation in the Yugoslav federation.
Sunday, July 18, 1999 - As a sign of support of Milosevic, the Yugoslav army warned opposition leaders who demand Milosevic's ouster are risking a new catastrophe and "cannot count on people's support."
In Nis some 100 Yugoslav army reservists ended three days of protests for back pay for recent service in Kosovo. The government owed reservists a total of $82 million.
Jacques Klein — UN special representative in Bosnia — said that Bosnia's future will be "problematic" unless both Croatia and Serbia become democratic. Klein noted that Milosevic retains strong control over the Serbian media and that opposition to him remains weak and divided.
Monday, July 19, 1999 - A US armored personnel carrier overturned, killing two soldiers and injuring three others.
A grenade was tossed into an ethnically mixed crowd at a market place in Vitina. Some 30 people were injured.
China announced it would build a new embassy on a new location in Belgrade. NATO planes attacked the embassy by mistake on May 7. It triggered massive anti-American protests in Beijing.
A 17 member UN team started a mission to investigate environmental damage on more than a dozen sites caused during the 78 NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. Yugoslav officials and scientists have claimed the destruction of chemical factories and oil refineries in the raids caused serious environmental damage.
NATO troops in Mijavic detained 13 KLA soldiers at what appeared to be an illegal police station.
Tuesday, July 20, 1999 - Five weeks after the end of the air strikes it is the Serb population suffering the most from revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians. NATO soldiers are protecting Serb religious buildings in the eastern town of Pec, as well as isolated Serb villages.
The UN refugee agency said more than 165,000 Serbs have left Kosovo since June 12. Some returned under NATO escort, but more Serbs continue to flee. Most ethnic ALbanians have returned home. Of the 800,000 Kosovo Albanians that fled Kosovo, some 700,000 have returned — including more than 20,000 who went to countries outside the immediate region. UNHCR planned to close four of the six remaining refugee camps in neighboring Macedonia.
KFOR peacekeepers arrested four Serbian policemen armed with automatic weapons in eastern Kosova near the border with Serbia.
Wednesday, July 21, 1999 - Russia said it is willing to maintain a peacekeeping presence in Kosovo for as long as necessary, despite the financial strain. Russia deployed 1,214 of the 3,600 troops. See statement of July 23 on the situation.
Several hundred secondary school and university students demonstrated in southern Serbia's principal city to demand that Milosevic resign.
Thursday, July 22, 1999 - Under an agreement with NATO, the KLA was to have turned over most of its heavy weaponry by midnight Wednesday, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, grenades and other explosives. Also included are 30 percent of its submachine guns and automatic weapons, all of which must go into designated storage sites. The deadline for complete demilitarization is September 19.
An envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the humanitarian aid bill for the areas of former Yugoslavia for the year will be at least $900 million. About $500 million already has been spent, with $443 million still required.
The Dutch secret service said that secret agents working for Balkan governments are trying to undermine the work of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.
Several hundred reservists blocked a road outside Kragujevac to demand that the army give them their back pay within 48 hours.
Saturday, July 24, 1999 - NATO found the remains of 14 Serbs shot dead July 23 in a field in the Serb village of Gracko, central Kosovo. The Serbs blamed NATO for failing to provide protection. A Yugoslav general warned that Belgrade could send some forces back if international forces don't take measures to protect Kosovo Serbs.
German soldiers in southern Kosovo discovered a stockpile of several tonnes of heavy weapons that the KFOR said the KLA "forgot" to tell the peacekeepers about.
Sunday, July 25, 1999 - Leaders of the Balkan nations in the stability pact — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia — will meet separately to discuss financial help to re-establish the economies. The US still refused to help Serbia as long as Milosevic is still in power.
NATO forces reported several violent incidents, including an exchange of gunfire Sunday night between a ground patrol of soldiers and occupants of a car in the western city of Pec. Near Istok — 12 miles north west of Pec — a group of attackers fired on a NATO patrol. NATO forces used two helicopters in pursuit. In Grmovo, a church was destroyed by an explosion. Near Gracko, British troops established three checkpoints.
Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - The United States said it will provide $500 million in food, shelter and other humanitarian aid for Kosovo. The aim is to get moving on implementation of the UN Security Council resolution and the peacekeeping operation. No money for Serbia as long as Milosevic is in power.
In a friendly non-Yeltsin way, Russia urged the US to provide assistance to 10 million Serbs who face winter without enough fuel and water. Russia was hoping for approval by the International Monetary Fund of a $630 million loan based on findings the Russian parliament moved to adopt Western-style measures to protect foreign investors.
The UN team investigating possible pollution in Serbia due to NATO attacks, found some "hot spots" near Pancevo and Prague. Mercury asbestos and other hazardous substances were found there. The team urged the West to act in order to avoid damage to the environment. The team said that the damage was not as severe as the Serbs had claimed; many of the environmental problems predated the NATO bombing, although airstrikes may have worsened some of them.
Ongoing violence. The Beta news agency said four Serbs were killed and three were missing in southeast Kosovo. A KFOR spokesman said two Serbs apparently slain in an ambush on their car in the northern Kosovo town of Vucitrn. The same day, peacekeepers found the bodies of three ethnic Albanians and one Bosnian Muslim in the town of Pec.
Wednesday, July 28, 1999 - Some 60 nations pledged $2 billion to help feed and house refugees who have returned to Kosovo. The EU will provide about $160 million this year and $532 million next year.
The 14 Serbs that were killed July 23, were buried. Heavy NATO security was present. Armored vehicles lined the main road into and through Gracko — 10 miles south of Pristina. NATO officials detained four men for questioning, but they were not charged. Investigators said there was sufficient evidence to detain them for up to a week. Two other men held for questioning over the last two days have been released.
Friday, July 30, 1999 - Investigators reported having unearthed 38 bodies believed to be ethnic Albanian victims of atrocities near the village of Cikatovo, about 15 miles west of Pristina. The site is one of dozens investigators have been probing since NATO troops moved in. A Belgian forensics team has been gathering evidence for several days at Cikatovo for the international war crimes tribunal.
Some 800 British paratroopers — who acted as crime fighters more than anything else — started to leave Pristina. CNN reported this was part of a UK plan to reduce the number of KFOR soldiers to about 5,000. The troops in Pristina were replaced by Canadian, Norwegian and other British troops.
Sunday, August 1, 1999 - The UN failed to set up a civilian administration and police force in Kosovo. The Sunday Telegraph reported that the KLA is establishing itself as the de facto government.
A US soldier was electrocuted in southeast Kosovo when the radio antenna of his armored patrol vehicle touched an overhead power line.
Russian troops briefly detained a KFOR commander, adding to the already high tension. The commander did not have papers and was released after his identity was established.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that on June 12 — the day NATO troops moved across the border — British SAS soldiers fought a full-scale fire-fight with Serb troops, killing 17. The night before, a Special Forces aircraft crashed on take-off with 20 SAS men aboard. All survived, though one soldier suffered major burns.
It was also said that 80 SAS soldiers were active behind enemy lines in Kosovo. SAS patrols were dug-in in well hidden OPs in the province watching enemy armor and artillery, and using laser designators to mark targets for RAF bombers. It was also said they cooperated with the KLA. Apart from providing intelligence on troop movements, they also collected evidence of atrocities.
A bomb explosion damaged a Serb orthodox church under construction in Pristina. Physical damage was little but tension was high.
In Zitinje, the fourth man in 10 days was killed yesterday. The town's 150 Serbs left in a convoy escorted by US peacekeepers. More than 100,000 Serbs are believed to have fled Kosovo since Serb troops left the province.
A US AH-64 helicopter spotted an illegal roadblock nine miles outside Gnjilane. US military police detained 21 Serbs.
In Pristina, a Serb couple and their daughter, held hostage in their apartment by two ethnic Albanians, were rescued by two British KFOR soldiers.
Monday, August 2, 1999 - The KLA rebels are still forming an army, police force, and a secret service. The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant quoted a KLA commander saying the KLA will not comply with a deadline set for September 19 for a complete demilitarization. He warned that the KLA might take up arms against KFOR, hitting the Russians first.
Tuesday, August 3, 1999 - An 18-page report by the Human Rights Watch included killings, abductions and abuse. HRW said it could not be fully explained by the desire of returning ethnic Albanians to exact revenge. HRW also said KFOR seemed unsuited for policing duties: "KFOR's concern about protecting its own forces, differing interpretations of the mandate ... and lack of experience in civil policing result in an uneven response to attacks and threats against minorities."
A UN plan called for a 3,000 member police force. NATO acknowledged the need for an extensive police force.
Italian NATO troops arrested five Kosovo Albanians for the abduction and murder of a Serb man, and detained two others for the killing of an elderly Serb woman.
Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - More than 75% of Kosovo's prewar Serb population of 200,000 left. The effort to create a democratic society while still respecting the sovereignty of Yugoslavia became more difficult than ever. Western officials acknowledged that without Serbs, the aspiration of the ethnic Albanian majority for independence might become unstoppable.
Many of the retaliatory strikes on Serbs come from fighters wearing Kosovo Liberation Army uniforms, but a KLA spokesman has denied KLA involvement in the attacks.
A former KLA fighter was shot to death in a clash between ethnic Albanians in Dobrocane and a convoy of Serbs heading out of Kosovo.
Western and Serb officials said that at least 200 Kosovo Serbs were killed or disappeared over an eight-week period. UN officials complained that promised assistance by donor countries — including experienced police officers — was slow in arriving.
Top UN official Bernard Kouchner inspected a mass grave site in Suvi Do where a UN war crimes forensic team has uncovered the bodies of 72 ethnic Albanians that were gunned down at close range. There was also evidence of torture.
Thursday, August 5, 1999 - The League of Democratic Kosovo ended its boycott of the fledgling Kosovo Transitional Council, the UN interim advisory council.
Peacekeeping troops briefly detained prominent KLA commander Rexhep Selimi for the second time in less than a week and confiscated his pistol and ammunition. British troops in Pristina said that when is vehicle was stopped, he loaded his gun, held up a bullet and said "this one is for you". Earlier, the KLA agreed to fully demilitarize by September 19.
Some 1,000 people protested in the southeastern town of Kosovska Kamenica against Russian peace keepers.
NATO's Gen. Rupert Smith, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk conferred on the deployment of Ukrainian peacekeepers in Kosovo. A Ukrainian helicopter unit-would be deployed north of Macedonia's capital of Skopje on August 23.
Friday, August 6, 1999 - There were three attacks on Russian soldiers at checkpoints in Koretin and Kosovska Kamenica in eastern Kosovo, an exchange of gunfire with people trying to attack a Serb home in Urosevac, and three cases in which shots were fired at other NATO checkpoints or patrols near Prizren. One Russian soldier suffered a thigh wound and one ethnic Albanian was seriously wounded in the incidents. NATO forces detained a total of 15 suspects.
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari criticized the UN-controlled international police for having an unclear mandate and said the main responsibility for maintaining order should rest on the troops of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission.
Dutch daily De Volkskrant reported the attitude of the KLA put NATO in a difficult situation, with Kosovo ethnically cleansed of Serbs under the eyes of NATO-led troops. The credibility of the international presence in Kosovo is at stake, the newspaper wrote.
Large areas of Serbia were without electricity on several occasions this week after the collapse of lumbering power grid, heavily damaged by NATO bombs.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic denounced his opponents as an extended hand of evil in a Western attempt to undermine Yugoslavia's stability. He said the ongoing protest rallies across Serbia, organized by opposition parties demanding his resignation, would not succeed.
Montenegro made a proposal, giving it the right to maintain its own army, foreign ministry and currency while remaining loosely linked to Serbia in a confederation called the Association of the States of Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said his country would call a referendum on full independence if the proposal would be rejected by Milosevic — which was highly likely.
NATO troops raided a house being used by public order minister Rexhep Selimi, seizing weapons, radio frequency scanners, a large quantity of German currency and documents that suggested an effort was under way to create a police organization.
August 7, 1999: French peacekeepers
against Albanians during a
demonstration on Aug 7.
Saturday, August 7, 1999 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, northern Kosovo, French peacekeepers in full combat gear prevented some 1,000 ethnic Albanians from crossing the bridge to the Serb-dominated sector. Some 150 protesters threw rocks; warning shots were fired. The French accused ethnic Albanian extremists of provoking a reaction. The city was a hot spot from the beginning of the peacekeeping operations.
Former KLA commander Hashim Thaci called for a tighter grip on Kosovo by the guerrillas. Some UN representatives criticized the KLA for trying to effectively take over Kosovo before a new social and political system could be established.
Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova said he will seek presidency of Kosovo early next year. "No Yugoslav soldier will ever again set food in Kosovo. We will accept a democratic Serbia only as a friendly neighboring state" (CNN). He said he expected the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to hold a referendum on independence within three years.
Rugova's point of view was in contrast with the policy of western countries, who maintain that Kosovo should be a part of Serbia.
August 7: peacekeepers arrest
Sunday, August 8, 1999 - For the second day, ethnic Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica hurled stones and taunted French peacekeepers, demanding free movement across the bridge into the Serb district.
In Kosovska Mitrovica, a Serb residential district was attacked with hand grenades and small-arms fire. In Pristina, a Serb bar was attacked with a hand grenade. One attacker was hit by NATO fire, another was arrested.
In Pristina, the deputy UN police commissioner, German Colonel Walter Wolf, said no date was set for the UN police to take over from NATO peacekeepers. Only 445 of a promised force of 3,100 police officers from various UN countries was actually present in Kosovo so far. Around 200 more per week were expected.
Monday, August 9, 1999 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, some 500 Albanians tried to storm the bridge but were held off by 40 French troops.
In Zitinje, homes left by Serbs were put on fire. Earlier, the 250 Serbian residents left with US peacekeepers moving in, protecting their belongings and houses. As soon as the peacekeepers left, ethnic Albanians struck. Peacekeepers tried to protect valuables and furniture by moving it to a building in the middle of the village, but it did not work.
In Pristina, a British patrol came under small-arms attack. Unknown assailants targeted a Danish bulldozer with machine gun fire in northern Kosovo, near Vucitrn.
In Kosovska Mitrovica, the bridge was opened, but remained under close French supervision.
Tuesdayday August 10, 1999 - NATO said it planned to deploy some 2,000 troops — mainly Italian — in Albania in September to improve and partly reconstruct the road from the western port of Durres to Kukes at the Albanian-Yugoslav border and on to Pristina. Peace keeping operations were hampered by the lack of good-quality roads and airports. The deployment would be designated AFOR-2.
Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - Three incidents were reported between ethnic Albanians and peacekeepers from France, the US, and Russia. In Kosovska Mitrovica, French troops stopped a crowd of ethnic Albanians from crossing the central bridge into the Serb-dominated sector for the fourth day. In the same city, three ethnic Albanians were beaten overnight in the Serb-controlled part of the town. In Gnjilane, US troops scuffled with ethnic Albanians demanding the release of 10 men arrested Tuesday while carrying weapons and wearing Kosovo Liberation Army uniforms. East of Gnjilane, US troops arrested nine men for attacking a Russian tank.
For a second time, the Serb Orthodox Church called on Yugoslav President Milosevic to resign.
The UN appointed Carla del Ponte (Zwitzerland) to head the UN criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She replaced the Canadian Louise Arbour.
Thursday, August 12, 1999 - British troops exchanged gunfire with ethnic Albanians suspected of threatening Serbs near Gornja Brnjica. A Russian soldier was hit by a sniper bullet in the shoulder while on guard duty in the southeast. In a separate incident, German peacekeepers — clearing mines near Suva Reka — came under machine gun fire, there were no casualties.
In an attempt to restore law and order, UN administrator Bernard Kouchner announced new regulations authorizing peacekeepers and UN police to detain or remove anyone at any time. It would also allow peacekeepers to expel people from the province.
The Wall Street Journal suggested only two institutions in Yugoslavia could bring Milosevic down, but only they if they worked together: the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Yugoslav army. The newspaper suggested that there were signs that this clerical- military alliance might be in the making.
Yugoslavia asked to issue their 417-page book titled "NATO crimes in Yugoslavia — documentary evidence" as an official UN document. The book was published by the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry and contains details of alleged ANTO atrocities.
The former Yugoslav army chief of staff, Gen. Momcilo Perisic, who was sacked in November 1998 for opposing Milosevic's confrontation with the West, announced he is forming the Movement for Democratic Serbia. His prime task would be the removal of Milosevic.
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) started to investigate the consequences of the use of depleted uranium in shells, fired in the last weeks of the air campaign by USAF A-10 tank busters. Residents and construction workers expressed their concerns, regarding the possible link with cancer, and also with the environment.
Ukraine began dispatching an advance party of its military contingent of troops and four Mi-8 helicopters. Ukraine said it was willing to deploy 800 troops, to be certified by NATO.
Fridayday August 13, 1999 - UN war crimes investigators begun exhuming a mass grave in northwest Kosovo, believed to contain around 100 ethnic Albanians who may have been executed in the Serbian Dubrava prison in reprisal for NATO air raids. A Spanish forensics team exhumed and autopsied 16 bodies.
Saturday, August 14, 1999 - A Canadian forensic team examined the grave site near Gnjilane, 25 miles south of Pristina. Residents said the graves contained six victims killed by the Serbs in April.
The new ultra nationalist vice premier in Yugoslavia, Tomislav Nikolic — appointed to strengthen Milosevic — called for Milosevic's resignation "not because the West demands it, but rather because he capitulated in Kosovo."
Most of Kosovo's 200,000 Serbs left the province. Bernard Kouchner, the UN administrator, blamed the KLA for the exodus of Serbs.
Sunday, August 15, 1999 - Three gunmen opened fire on a NATO peacekeeping patrol in the village of Zjum, in southwestern Kosovo. The assailants were stopped for an identification check. A German paratrooper was shot, but saved by his body armor.
In Kosovska Mitrovica, two Serbs were wounded after they stopped a car of Albanians that crossed into the Serb-dominated northern district of the city. One Albanian opened fired with a semi-automatic rifle, wounding the men. He was arrested by KFOR on suspicion of attempted murder.
The Serbian Orthodox Church said that more than 40 of its churches — including some 13th- and 14th-century structures — were destroyed by ethnic Albanians.
Yugoslavia accused Hungary and Croatia of jamming the countries state-run media.
Monday, August 16, 1999 - Kosovar Albanians called off a demonstration over the right to freely cross the bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica. An agreement was close to be reached between the UN and NATO officials, Bajram Rexhepi — mayor of the ethnic Albanian sector, and a Serb delegation. It would allow 25 ethnic Albanian families per day to cross the Ibar River KLA commander Rrahman Rama told the crowd the KLA wanted the demonstration to be called off too. It was agreed that returning families would be escorted by French peacekeepers.
Commander of the Russian airborne troops, Col. Gen. Georgy Shpak, said the KLA was behind schedule for surrendering weapons. Armes traders in Britain had been offered 140 tons of high-explosives as well as rocket-propelled grenades, automatic weapons and illegal anti-personnel mines (Independent 16 August 1999).
Nine mortar rounds were fired at the village of Klokot in the US sector — some 40 km southeast of Pristina — killing two Serb teens and injuring five other Serbs.
Fifty ethnic Albanian and Serbian judges agreed to form a commission to draw up a new, democratic body of laws for Kosovo.
Belgrade's Tanjug news agency claimed that French KFOR troops stationed in Zubin Potok in the northern part of Kosovo demolished a radio and television transmitter on Mount Mokra Gora, near Zubin Potok. During the NATO air raids, the transmitter was targeted 10 times, but was always missed. Tanjug said without the transmitter, Kosovo and a part of southern Serbia could no longer receive the second channel of Belgrade television or the second channel of Radio Belgrade.
|Refugees returned to Kosovo (Aug 17, 1999)|
|FYR of Macedonia||190||217,200|
Tuesday, August 17, 1999 - Three Serbs suffered minor wounds when a grenade exploded in Gnjilane.
Serbian authorities in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade arrested and beat up anti-government activist Bogoljub Arsenijevic. He was a Serb minister without portfolio. A warrant was issued, charging him of leading the raid by a rock-throwing crowd on a government building.
Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - The Beta news agency reported that 20,000 people gathered in Nis, Yugoslavia's third-largest city, chanting "Resignations, resignations!" Concerned with the protest movement, cheap edible oil, sugar, flour and gasoline appeared in the town — after a month of shortages.
US officials urged the Yugoslav opposition to maintain united, as a means to hastening the departure of Milosevic.
In an attempt to stop the violence against the Serb minority in Kosovo, the UN appealed to the Albanian majority to cooperate with international peacekeepers. NATO peacekeepers seemed unable to put a halt to the violence against Serbs. Only a minority of the original Serb population of 200,000 stayed in Kosovo.
Vesna Pesic, an opposition leader, fled to Montenegro, after Milosevic's prosecutor demanded an investigation against her for allegedly calling for violent toppling of his regime.
The World Health Organization warned of health concerns in Kosovo. Many younger children born after 1997 were never vaccinated against polio.
Russia blamed its NATO peacekeeping partners for attacks against Kosovo Serbs. The Russian foreign minister said: "This is the outcome of the 'policy of pacifying' Albanian separatism on the part of several Western nations."
Thursday, August 19, 1999 - Some 150,000 demonstrators in Belgrade called for Yugoslav president Milosevic to step down. Police did not interfere. Some minor opposition parties dropped out and Serbian Renewal Party leader Vuk Draskovic did not attend.
President Slobodan Milosevic's party offered to hold early elections. Elections were schedule for 2001. The democratic opposition demanded foreign monitoring. In 1989, international monitors reported major fraud in all Serbian elections. Milosevic also refused to accept a loss in 14 cities, including Belgrade, in local election in 1996. This led to weeks of anti-government protests.
The KLA declared it met the deadline for putting all of its heavy arms, all long-barreled guns, and 60% of its automatic small arms under the supervision of NATO. A French KFOR officer said that the figures were meaningless, since nobody knew what the percentages represented. The KLA is scheduled to disarm before September 19 and to disband in a month, yet on August 16, KFOR said the KLA was behind schedule. Many KFOR officials had doubts that the KLA will really ever be disarmed. It seemed on the surface that the KLA has been cooperating with NATO, while it in fact is doing what it deemed necessary to strengthen its position. NATO officials said they want to inventory the weapons before confirming the claim.
Attackers threw two grenades and two firebombs at a Serbian Orthodox Church in Djakovica, the second attack on the church since the start of the KFOR mission. Two Italian peacekeepers suffered minor injuries.
Friday, August 20, 1999 - In Orahovac — in the German sector — Dutch and German peacekeepers arrested three Kosovo Serbs on suspicion of committing atrocities against ethnic Albanians during the 18-month crackdown in Kosovo.
Dutch and German troops posted signs ordering Serbs to hand in weapons. They added that any weapons found during house searches would lead to arrests. Some 120 weapons, mostly Kalashnikovs, were handed in.
The Dutch were preparing to hand security of Orahovac over to Russian troops.
In Kosovoska Mitrovica, French peacekeepers escorted two Albanian families back to their homes on the Serb-held side.
Saturday, August 21, 1999 - The head of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, accused another opposition group led by Zoran Djindjic of pushing the country to civil war by refusing offers of early elections. Draskovic was willing to accept Milosevic's offer of early elections. Djindjic demands Milosevic's immediate stepdown.
The joint Serb-ethnic Albanian council — formed to advise the UN — held its second meeting. Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci was not present.
August 22, 1999: handing in of
guns in Orahovac
Sunday, August 22, 1999 - In Orahovac, NATO troops extended the deadline for handing in weapons, granting a Serb request. Until Saturday, some 600 weapons were handed in.
New UN Tribunal prosecutor Carla del Ponte (Switzerland) said bringing Milosevic to trial would be a priority.
KLA leader Hashim Thaci did not show up at a meeting of the joint Serb and Albanian UN advisory council.
Thursday, August 25, 1999 - Albanian police discovered a tunnel near the village of Pac, close to the Kosovo border containing heavy weapons — cannons, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, mortars. The weapons were to be smuggled into Kosovo.
Thursday, August 26, 1999 - Serbs urged the United Nations to create all-Serb safe havens for them in Kosovo, on locations where they used to be the majority before the NATO air campaign. This was strongly opposed by the Albanians as a first step toward partitioning the province.
August 26, 1999: Albanian protests in Orahovac
In Orahovac, Albanians still refused to remove road barriers made up from tractors, trucks, cars and buses to allow Russian troops to move in. Appeals from the United States and other countries failed to persuade ethnic Albanians to abandon their roadblocks for the fourth consecutive day. The Russians awaited in neighboring Malisevo.
Over 1,000 retirees marched through Belgrade today, demanding their pensions and the ouster of Milosevic's government. They were promised coupons for paying energy bills, instead of payments for May, June, and July.
In another media battle, Yugoslav president Milosevic accused the United States of conspiring with the ethnic Albanians, charging that America was covering up a mass grave near Gnjilane in the US sector of Kosovo. The NATO-led peace force discovered the grave but made its discovery public recently, although forensic experts of the war crimes tribunal were notified immediately.
The International Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia issued an official complaint to the UN about Croatia. ICTY said the country refused to comply with its investigations and failed to give the court access to evidence or to extradite two indicted suspects. They ignored more than 100 requests to submit evidence. Yugoslavia is another country that triggered complaints from the tribunal. Croatia was faulted for refusing to hand over Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic — a paramilitary leader charged with leading a brutal ethnic cleansing drive against Moslems in southwestern Bosnia in 1993. The US warned Croatia for the consequences.
NATO announced it completed its search for unexploded bombs dropped by alliance aircraft in the Adriatic following abortive raids over Kosovo.
A Russian soldier died at the Russian Headquarters in Banja following the discharge of his weapon.
British troops reported the firing of three to four mortar rounds in Gracanica. No injuries were reported. House searches were conducted, no arrests were made.
Friday, August 27, 1999 - The Yugoslav justice ministry ordered several other top western leaders to appear in court on charges of war crimes against civilians during the 78-day NATO air raids on Yugoslavia. Subpoenas were issued to US president Bill Clinton, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and US Defense Secretary William Cohen; the premiers, defense ministers and foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany; former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana and NATO's commander for Europe, General Wesley Clark. Milan Bozic from the Serbian Renewal Movement described the move as a "propaganda move for domestic consumption with no effect against those accused."
In response to requests by Serbs, the UN answered that separate safe havens for Serbs and Gypsies were not the solution to preserving a multiethnic society in Kosovo. The idea clashed with the goal of the UN and NATO. In fact, UN Security Council resolution 1244 prohibited a division of Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian leaders were also against it, but for a different reason. They feared such separation would lead to the partitioning of a province they felt was rightfully theirs.
The Washington Post reported that countries in the southern Balkans — such as Bulgaria, Romania, and Macedonia — were anxiously awaiting rewards from the west, fearing that with the end of the bombing campaign, they might be forgotten. Both Rumania and Bulgaria allowed NATO to use their air space and Macedonia served as a staging area for western ground forces. Romania claimed the airstrikes costed the country $1 billion in lost business and Bulgaria claimed $100 million in lost trade, due to damaged roads, bridges and infrastructure.
The Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman reported that a spy within NATO passed information on to Moscow, which in turn told Belgrade. The information included details for a flight plan for US stealth fighters, which enabled Serb forces to intercept and shoot down one of the planes. The paper said the NATO officer was arrested shortly after the F-117 was shot down in late March 1999 (see chronologies for Allied Force and SFOR).
A NATO spokesman said the alliance was "aware that information was getting to the Serbs" but that there were no indications there was a spy in NATO. A US official in Brussels said that the stealth flight plan details did not go through NATO channels and were kept within the US military. A US official at SHAPE also denied both the report and the arrest of any NATO official, said Reuters.
The Scotsman said the Russians would have a team standing by in order to get material from the downed plane away from the scene, as they feared the USAF might bomb the crash site in a next wave of attacks.
Saturday, August 28, 1999 - An explosion in Pristina damaged a communist-era monument. No injuries were reported.
In a head-on collision with a Norwegian KFOR Toyota van that was traveling the wrong way in Skopje, Macedonian minister without portfolio Radovan Stojkovski and his wife and daughter died. Macedonia condemned the driving of vehicles and carrying of guns in what they called prohibited areas.
Monday, August 30, 1999 - JAT — Yugoslavia's largest airline — launched a new weekly flight from Belgrade to Tripoli, the Libyan capital. European Union sanctions prevented JAT from flying to the majority of its regular destinations. With this move, the ties with Libya might improve.
A US senator warned the KLA that support will stop if the deadline to disarm by September 19 is not met.
Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - Near the town of Teslic — 65 miles north of Sarajevo — forensic experts discovered a mass grave with at least 50 bodies of Muslims and Croats killed in the Bosnian war. In the Sarajevo suburb of Grbavica another grave, containing at least 10 Muslim and Croat bodies, was unearthed.
Opposition parties in Yugoslavia said that they would take part in early elections — but not if they are controlled by the Yugoslav president. Earlier, Milosevic rejected the call for international supervision.
The US paid $4.5 million to the victims of NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999. Three Chinese were killed and 27 wounded. Talks on an agreement on compensation for damage to each other's missions were called useful and productive.
Both Nato and the Norwegian government issued protests to Macedonia. The Norwegian KFOR driver was arrested after the accident August 28. Macedonia's interior ministry said that the injured soldiers were supposed to go to the emergency medical center in Skopje, but that NATO personnel took them to Petrovec airport and put them on a helicopter. The two were seized and one was released. Macedonia said they registered 145 serious traffic accidents caused by K-For drivers since March.
Kosovo's unofficial parliament met for the first time. The 130 members were elected in a poll held in March 1998 among Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo dominated the parliament. Critics said the assembly's composition did not reflect postwar reality in Kosovo.
Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - Kosovo Albanian leader Hashim Thaqi said in Orahovac that he supported the Albanians' actions to block the Russians. He said: "we believe their demand for Russian troops not to be present here in Orahovac will be met." UN administrator Bernard Kouchner said he was sending international police to Orahovac to try to reduce tension.
A KFOR spokesman said the number of murders gradually went down from 30 at the beginning to seven.
Two Australian CARE workers that were arrested March 31 trying to cross the border into Croatia en route to Kosovo, were released under international pressure. They were charged with spying, after NATO's air campaign had commenced. A Yugoslav CARE worker was not released. The Australian government claimed the charges were fabricated.
Russia's foreign ministry charged that US peacekeepers had sought to cover up the massacre last month of 15 Serbs in the village of Ugljar. They demanded an investigation by the UN Security Council.
Four Gypsies were killed in Gornji Dragoljevici in western Kosovo. French forces found one Serb shot dead, one wounded and one unhurt in an ambushed car in northwestern Kosovo. Finnish forces in the town of Lipjan reported a grenade attack on a Serb house.
In Gracanica, Serbs blocked the road through the town in protest at the alleged kidnapping of a resident.
NATO commander Clark said the demilitarization of the KLA was on track.
Thursday, September 2, 1999 - British police discovered a mass grave hidden inside a rubbish dump near Ljubizd, north of Prizren, in the south of Kosovo. There were believed to be 50 bodies in the grave.
Friday, September 3, 1999 - Serbia's opposition appealed to the West to ease sanctions on Yugoslavia to allow the repair of electricity and heating before winter sets in. They also said the failure of KFOR to protect the Serb minority in Kosovo is helping Milosevic. The Netherlands and Greece proposed an "energy for democracy" policy that would allow oil deliveries to restart to municipalities controlled by the opposition. The US and Britain expressed concerns such move could help prop up Milosevic's rule.
NATO and UN officials agreed to allow a part of the KLA to survive as a lightly armed civilian emergency force. The new civilian force will be called the Kosovo Corps and is set up for coping with emergencies like "forest fires, earthquakes, mountain rescue and reconstruction". Its military structure will be formed from the core commanders of the KLA; there will be uniforms and limited side arms. NATO referred to the civilian nature, while rebel commanders were selling the concept to their followers as the potential core of a national army.
The September 19 deadline for complete demilitarization of the 9,000 troops of the Kosovo Liberation Army was extended by 10 days.
The KLA claimed all of its weapons — some 10,000 — were handed over to NATO. NATO assumed this to be incorrect and stressed that any form of army would be a violation of the KFOR agreement. NATO warned the situation in Kosovo became more explosive over the past days, partially because of parts of the KLA no longer seemed under control by the KLA leaders. But the concerns also concerned the Serbs. NATO discovered a large quantity of concealed hand grenades and munitions in Gnjilane. In Strple, the uniform of a Serb police officer were found. The Serb attempts to disrupt the peace process were being coordinated from Belgrade, claimed NATO.
In Kosovska Mitrovica, 150 Serbs returned. However, both sides continued to contribute to the tense situation in the divided city. On the Albanian side of the city, the KLA continuously attempted to stir up emotions amongst the people.
Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - Russian KFOR troops killed three Serbs near Korminjane in southeast Kosovo. The three attacked a car with Albanians when the Russians ordered them to stop.
According to the KLA, Serbian villages northeast of Gniljane were receiving arms from Serbia.
Russia stated it could accept nothing but total disarmament of the KLA. Earlier, NATO and the KLA agreed that the KLA would transform into the Kosovo Corps. Russia could block the plan in the UN Security Council.
Thursday, September 9, 1999 - Fifteen grenades were fired at the mainly Serb villages Donja Budriga and Partesa, in the east of Kosovo in the US section. The Chinese manufactured 81 mm shells were also used by the KLA during the war in Kosovo.
Yugoslav General Vladimir Lazarevic said he would be prepared to re-capture Kosovo, since all NATO had done was transform it into an occupied zone.
Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - According to KFOR spokesman Maj Ole Irgens, the violence of the past days was carefully orchestrated. Past Thursday and Friday, 184 Albanians and Serbs as well as French KFOR troops were injured in clashes. KFOR said it had indications that Serb soldiers, some in uniform, were wandering in Kosovo. As an example he mentioned the three Serbs that were killed by Russian KFOR troops after they provoked Albanians. One of them was dressed in a military uniform.
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) concluded that NATO air raids on Kosovo did not cause massive damage to the environment. However, UNEP recommended a solution for Pancevo where a 2 km long channel with waste water from the petrochemical industry is drained into the River Donau. The factories in Pancevo were attacked multiple times by NATO. In the Zastava factory in Kragujevac — where civil and military vehicles are being manufactured — toxic substances were discovered. The investigation related to the possible consequences of the use of uranium shells in anti-tank ammunition was still ongoing. A report was expected within a month.
Friday, September 17, 1999 - An FBI forensic report said that 124 bodies from 21 mass graves were examined. Victims had their throats cut, were shot from close range, or had their skull smashed. This report, together with the reports of ten other countries will be used in a final report.
General Clark said that in Orahovac the Dutch would not soon be replaced by Russians. Some 4,000 Albanians continued to block access to the city.
In Polje, mainly a Serb city, two Serb civilians were killed and some 40 injured in a grenade attack on a market. Four arrests were made by KFö troops. The attack followed the announcement by French KFOR troops that four Serbs were arrested in connection with the murder on 20 ethnical Albanians during the NATO air strikes. The mass grave was found near Vidomiric, near Kosovska Mitrovica. In total, 54 people were arrested in connection with killings.
Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - In various Serb cities tens of thousands of people demonstrated in protest against president Slobodan Milosvic. The entire opposition said protests would be organized by the Alliance for Change every day until Milosevic's step down. In Belgrade, there were 20,000 demonstrators; in Novi Sad and Kragujevac some 10,000 each. In other cities demonstrations were held too. The police did not intervene.
The former president of the national bank, Dragoslav Avramovic, said that Yugoslavia was the most isolated country after Iraq.
NATO and the KLA came to an agreement. The KLA accepted the NATO terms. Earlier, in a meeting with KFOR commander Jackson, KLA leaders Hashim Thaci and Gen Agim Ceku had refused to halve their army to 5,000 troops and transform this into an unarmed police force. After this, the ultimatum was extended by 48 hours. Jackson threatened that refusal would jeopardize the future of Kosovo and would deteriorate relations with NATO. Main obstacle was that the new KLA was allowed only 200 armed troops — mainly bodyguards. NATO commander Clark also traveled to Kosovo.
Wednesday, September 22, 1999 - A Turkish KFOR soldier was killed and five German and two other Turkish soldiers injured in an explosion of an unknown object.
Elsewhere, a German soldier was killed when he stepped on a mine. Four other German troops were injured by another mine during a rescue attempt.
Thursday, September 23, 1999 - The Serbs quit the UN joint Serb-ethnic Albanian advisory council. They were angry over the establishment of the Kosovo Protection Corps TMK. Leader of the Serbs in Kosovo, Momcilo Trajkovic, said the corps was a sole Albanian organization without any multi-ethnic feature. He also questioned the need for helicopters for a civil organization. Foreign ministers of the UK, Germany, France, and Italy stressed the civil nature of the corps.
Friday, September 24, 1999 - Secretary General Solana said that Kosovo's seek for independence should be abandoned and that Kosovo should settle for less. Independence for Kosovo could lead to a trend of further fragmentation of the Balkans and possibly Russia. Independence was not supported by any resolution and by no statement of any nation. Solana also objected KLA leader Hashim Thaci. Furthemore, Solana said elections could prevent leadership by individuals that do not have real support.
In Orahovac, Dutch KFOR troops arrested four Serbs on suspicion of war crimes. The four will be tried in The Hague. German troops and UN employees provided support in the arrest.
In Belgrade, some 20,000-30,000 protests demanded Milosevic's stepdown. It was the fourth straight day of protests. In the city of Nis, some 15,000 people protested, in Novi Sad and Cacak some 7,000.
A UN official said some decisions of Bernard Kouchner — the UN administrator in Kosovo — were considered to be controversial. The decision to make the German mark Kosovo's official currency he called "a mistake." Another UN official said the proposal to issue UN travel documents was also opposed at UN headquarters. Similar controversy was expected over a decision not to retain Yugoslavia's country code in phone numbers registered under Kosovo's new cellular telephone network.
Saturday, September 25, 1999 - The Serbs in Kosovo demanded their own Serb militia. In Mitrovica, a demonstration was held to emphasize this desire. French and Danish KFOR troops prevented that communications equipment was removed from a post office in the Albanian part of the city. The Serbs were angry with the establishment of the Kosovo Corps, a 5,000 strong organization, commanded by former KLA commander Agim Ceku. The corps has 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 reservists and a total of 2,000 weapons. The Serbs complained that the corps can hardly be called multi-ethnical.
Sunday, September 26, 1999 - For the sixth consecutive day, more than 40,000 demonstrators protested in Belgrade against Milosevic.
Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - Serbs set up roadblocks near Kosovo Polje, after a grenade attack on a Serb market. Two people were killed and more than 40 injured in that attack.
Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - For the first time since June, Milosevic was seen in public. In Pancevo, he addressed workers of the refinery, during the official partial re-opening. During the NATO air campaign, the refinery was heavily damaged. The river Donau was expected to remain blocked for the winter, due to the bridges that were targeted during the NATO air campaign.
Thursday, September 30, 1999 - In Belgrade, for the second day in a row riot police violently prevented some 20,000 protesters to proceed to the quarters of Milosevic. Many were injured, including women and children. Three reporters and two camera crews of Sky News and CNN were also injured.
Much to the distress of the UN, three UNMIK employees — one Australian and one Portugese technical expert and a Serb translator — were arrested by Serbian police troops and held for a day. The three were arrested in northern Kosovo while trying to find a suitable location for communications facility and were later transferred to the Serbian village of Kraljevo. They were released under pressure from the UN. The reason for their arrest became not immediately clear. It was the second time that UN employees were arrested by the Serb police. Earlier, two staff members of the World Food Program were arrested. They were released after some hours following heavy pressure from NATO.