Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yugoslav Embargo Lifted

President Boris Yeltsin has signed an order lifting an arms embargo against former Yugoslavia in three stages by June 11, his press secretary said Tuesday.

Sergei Medvedev told reporters the first stage, effective immediately, allowed for military and technical cooperation but does not permit delivery of weapons.

The second, from March 14, would allow for arms deliveries with the exception of heavy weapons such as tanks and heavy artillery and ammunition for these weapons, he said.

Itar-Tass said mines and military aircraft would also be banned at this stage.

Medvedev said that from June 11, the embargo would be lifted totally unless the UN Security Council ruled otherwise. He said the decision was in line with the Dayton peace accord reached late last year but gave no further details.

Yeltsin's order covered all states on the territory of former Yugoslavia, Medvedev said.

The embargo was imposed in 1991 to try to prevent fighting from spreading in the Balkans.

The Soviet Union was once an important supplier of tanks and other military hardware to the Yugoslav armed forces. Russia is now trying to step up its overall arms exports to boost hard currency earnings.

Yeltsin issued the order almost three months before Russia's presidential election and will probably please nationalist supporters who have lobbied for the lifting of sanctions against Russia's traditional Serb allies.

Last month, Yeltsin pre-empted action by the Security Council by issuing a decree suspending economic sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs.

The United Nations lifted economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia -- comprising Serbia and Montenegro -- late last year under the Dayton accord.