Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 111

Russia appeared to find itselfisolated yesterday as leading Western nations began moving toward consensuson military sanctions against Serbia to stem the escalating violence inKosovo. To varying degrees, Britain, France, Germany and the United Statesall indicated a renewed willingness to consider force as a means ofpreventing a broader Balkan conflagration. A similar viewpoint was evidentin Brussels, where NATO defense ministers are set to meet for talks on theKosovo crisis later this week. The Alliance would like to win Russiansupport for a UN resolution authorizing possible direct intervention by NATObut, according to one official, NATO will not permit a UN veto by Russia toblock action. (Reuter, June 9)

Moscow showed little evidence yesterday, however, of a willingness to changeits position. Russian leaders have repeatedly criticized talk of any sort offoreign military intervention in Yugoslavia. They have insisted that anyproposed NATO action in the region must first win approval in the UNSecurity Council. Speaking to reporters in Bonn yesterday, wheredevelopments related to Kosovo dominated a Russian-German summit meeting,Yeltsin stuck in large part to Moscow’s old line. The Russian presidentsigned a joint statement with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that denouncedall violence in Kosovo. But he said that any deployment of foreign troops inKosovo would be “very dangerous” and might spark a wider conflict in theBalkans. (AP, June 9)

That sentiment was echoed in remarks by other Russian officials, includingDefense Minister Igor Sergeev. Following talks with his German counterpartVolker Ruehe, Sergeev said that Moscow had no intention of agreeing tosanctions. He insisted that only the UN has the right to decide on theoperation of international peacekeeping forces. (Itar-Tass, June 9) Bonn wasapparently unsuccessful in its efforts to win Russian support even foreconomic sanctions against Serbia that were agreed to this week by theEuropean Union. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said that Russiawould probably not join the sanctions. (Itar-Tass, AP, June 9)