YU minister says Nato waged 'chemical war' against country

(BBC) April 25, 2000 - A report by the Yugoslav Ministry for Development, Science and Environment on the effects of last year's NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia's environment, including a chapter on NATO's use of depleted uranium 238, whose use has never been a subject of any international document, was presented at the Yugoslav government headquarters on Friday [21st April].

Assistant Yugoslav Defence Minister Gen Slobodan Petkovic said Yugoslav Army units during the war found shells with depleted uranium in the wider regions of Bujanovac and Vranje, in southwestern Serbia, and on the Lustica promontory in Boka Kotorska Bay in Montenegro, in a radiological-chemical examination of regions where A-10A US aircraft were engaged.

The contaminated soil was examined by the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences of Belgrade, the Department for Health Protection of Workers of Nis and the Belgrade-based Military Medical Academy. Results showed a high degree of contamination - the specific activity of depleted uranium 238 ranged up to 235,000 becquerels/kg soil. The highest level of permitted contamination for this element is 200 becquerels/kg, Gen Petkovic pointed out.

It was not possible to make any detailed radiological-chemical analyses in Serbia's Kosovo-Metohija province, he said, but Yugoslav Army data showed that A-10A US aircraft were engaged in about 100 locations in the province, especially heavily in the regions of Prizren, Urosevac, Pec, Djakovica, Decani and Djurakovac, mostly in western Kosovo-Metohija.

Yugoslav Minister for Development, Science and Environment Nada Sljapic said these facts made the NATO aggression a "chemical war against the population and the living world".

In a planned and preconceived manner, NATO attacked chemical industry plants, and only immediate actions by domestic experts prevented or reduced the disastrous effects on the environment, she said.

Original article