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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kozyrev Supports Air Strike

KIEV -- Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on Friday backed the NATO strike against Bosnian Serb forces, saying UN peacekeepers had to be defended by all means.


"We believe peacekeepers must be defended by whatever means available to the world community," Kozyrev said in an interview.


"The Moslems are resorting to provocative acts, to attacks. But the Bosnian Serbs, as always, are reacting inappropriately, overdoing it substantially."


Kozyrev, whose country has often been out of step with the other big powers on the Bosnian question, was speaking after two days of talks with Ukrainian leaders.


NATO jets hit a Bosnian Serb tank west of Sarajevo on Thursday evening after a rocket attack on a French UN vehicle which seriously wounded the driver.


Kozyrev, whose country also has peacekeeping troops in former Yugoslavia, said the strike had been ordered after a thorough NATO study into an "unacceptable" attack on French peacekeeping forces.


"If the Bosnian Serbs continue to reject peace plans and use military actions, they will come up against growing resistance from the world community," he said.


But he also denounced the Big Power "contact group" seeking a settlement in Bosnia, saying it had accomplished nothing in two months.


He also criticized pressure from Washington to end an arms embargo against Bosnia's Moslem-led government if the Serbs did not accept an international peace plan.


"Peacekeeping contingents are being attacked not only by Bosnian Serbs -- although this does not excuse the Serbs -- but this proves yet again that as long as the contact group does nothing, military escalation will grow," he said.


Lifting the embargo, Kozyrev said, "amounts to green light for war. This means fighting to the last Bosnian with us providing weaponry."


Kozyrev once again argued in favor of relaxing the UN Security Council ban on Serbia.