On September 7, Yeltsin signed into law the Duma’s recent bill allowing Russian companies and businessmen registered in Russia to trade with rump Yugoslavia if the trading involves the provision of humanitarian goods and services to that country. The law can provide a major avenue for circumvention of international economic sanctions against Yugoslavia by or through Russia. This is one of a set of three bills adopted by the Duma on August 12. The other two mandate Russia’s unilateral abandonment of the international economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, and impose Russian sanctions on Croatia. All three have since cleared the Federation Council, and the remaining two are awaiting Yeltsin’s consideration.
In radiotelevised remarks the same day on the situation in ex-Yugoslavia, Yeltsin said that Russia would revise its cooperation with NATO if the alliance continues to bomb Bosnian Serb positions. He charged that NATO air raids exceed the United Nations peacekeeping forces’ mandate in the former Yugoslavia, and warned that this action is "drawing the whole world into the conflict on the side of one of the warring parties." Vaguely warning that Russia is prepared to take unspecified appropriate actions to stem NATO activities in Bosnia, Yeltsin renewed his proposal for an international peace conference on Yugoslavia, to be held in Moscow in October. A similar previous Russian initiative turned into a fiasco last July, when Croatian president Franjo Tudjman refused to go to Moscow, ostensibly because Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic had not been invited to the meeting but in fact, because of lack of trust in Russia’s qualifications as an impartial mediator.
Meanwhile, the Russian ministry of foreign affairs reiterated yesterday’s statement from Russian military intelligence (GRU), that it had information that the explosion in Sarajevo, which led to the NATO air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, came from a handmade bomb, allegedly made not by Serbs, but by unspecified Bosnian Muslim extremists. But Col. General Boris Gromov, military adviser to the same ministry, said that according to his information, the explosion was caused by "a third party" which belongs to neither the Serb nor the Muslim side and which, the General claimed, has since joined bombing missions against Serb positions in Bosnia. (1)
On the Council of Europe…