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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Doctors Fly To Aid of Yugoslavs




A team of 41 Russian doctors departed Monday for Yugoslavia to work in a hospital outside Nis in southeastern Serbia, where NATO aircraft struck again during the night, officials of the Emergency Situations Ministry said.


A Yak-42 plane delivered doctors and paramedics to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, from which they will drive to Yugoslavia, ministry spokeswoman Natalya Shakhgedanova said Monday.


The doctors will take with them hospital equipment and a shipment of food and medicine already delivered to Sofia and head for Prokuple, a smaller town outside Nis, a major industrial center and the third largest city in Yugoslavia with more than 250,000 people.


Shakhgedanova said Russian doctors will work in a recently constructed hospital in Prokuple, working with portable medical equipment also used during the ministry's humanitarian work in Chechnya. The Prokuple hospital lacks medical staff, equipment and supplies.


The $2.5 million mission is part of a joint project with Greece and Switzerland, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week.


Shakhgedanova said the hospital will assist "all those in urgent need for help, making no distinction between Serbs and Albanians, helping those who have suffered from the NATO bombings."


She also said the decision to send Russian doctors to the Nis area was worked out by the Emergency Situations Ministry together with Yugoslav health authorities.


Though the ministry has no guarantees that the Russian doctors will be safe from air attacks, Red Cross signs around the hospital should prevent NATO from bombing them, Shakhgedanova said.


NATO admitted Saturday that a cluster bomb had gone astray and hit a hospital and a marketplace in the city Friday, with local doctors saying the death toll from that attack was 22, Reuters reported.


During Saturday's raid, NATO warplanes pounded an industrial suburb, hit a bridge over the Nisava River, damaged the nearby Greek Consulate and injured seven people, Serbian media said.


On Monday night Nis, was the only city in Yugoslavia to have been attacked by NATO planes.


"The industrial area and apartment buildings in northwest Nis were targeted tonight at 1:50 a.m. by NATO airplanes," Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said.


"I heard two blasts in the northwest part of the city," said one message sent to the www.inet.co.yu web site, which collates reports from Yugoslav residents of damage from NATO raids. "There is intensive overflying by fighter jets."


Another contributor to the site said the Nis airport was among the targets.


A resident of Aleksinac, 30 kilometers north of Nis, was quoted by the www.beograd.com site as saying he had heard two explosions from the direction of Nis at 1:40 a.m. while a second message said five to six missiles had hit the city, with further explosions at 1:50 a.m. Another message said the city's main post office had been hit.