YU hoped for more Russian support in war

MOSCOW, Mar 25, 2000 -- (Reuters) The brother of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic expressed disappointment on Friday that Russia did not do more to support Yugoslavia during the NATO air war that started a year ago.

"It's true that our people expected more (from Russia) in terms of concrete military action, and economically and perhaps other things," Borislav Milosevic, Yugoslavia's ambassador to Russia, told a news conference.

Milosevic spoke on the anniversary of the start of NATO's 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, which was launched because of Belgrade's treatment of the ethnic Albanian majority in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo.

Russia bitterly condemned the NATO bombing and froze relations with the alliance, but did little to come directly to the aid of fellow Slav Orthodox Christians in Yugoslavia.

Moscow ultimately played the role of mediator between Belgrade and the West. The deal to end the war left Slobodan Milosevic in power but brought a United Nations administration into Kosovo.

"We probably would not have accepted that document had it not been presented by Russia, our only European ally," the ambassador said. "To have rejected this document would have caused suffering for the people, since the alternative was destruction at the time."

Borislav Milosevic said he expected Russian-Yugoslav relations to remain strong under Acting President Vladimir Putin. Putin is a favorite to win a presidential election on Sunday.

The ambassador has made a series of appearances in recent days to mark the war anniversary, saying the bombing brought great suffering to Kosovo.

Russian politicians united on Friday in saying the NATO bombing had made the situation worse in Kosovo and that the United Nations administration there had proved a failure.

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