Serbia Puts Blame on NATO, UN

BELGRADE -- Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Sunday accused NATO peacekeepers and United Nations police of using "snipers and banned ammunition" to quell a Serb riot against Kosovo's independence.

"It was the international forces," he told the daily Vecernje Novosti in an interview, referring to a riot in the Kosovo Serb stronghold of Mitrovica last Monday in which a Ukrainian UN policeman was killed and a Serb badly wounded in the head.

"Obviously, the situation in Kosovo is very difficult and there are reasonable and unreasonable people. The battle is on for the whole of Kosovo," Kustunica said.

When the powers which back independence for the majority Albanian province realized that Serbia would never recognize it, "they displayed force," Kostunica said "brutal force, snipers and banned ammunition."

UN police and NATO troops raided a UN court building last Monday that had been occupied by Serbian protesters, including Serbian Interior Ministry officials, according to the United Nations.

The UN and NATO say the violence was instigated by Belgrade. They say Serbs threw grenades and Molotov cocktails and fired automatic weapons in a deliberate attempt to kill.

Serbs say one man now in a coma was shot by a NATO sniper. Kostunica's "banned ammunition" charge refers to plastic bullets.