1. Archive

Russian peacekeeper hurt in Kosovo attack

In the heaviest night of violence directed at NATO-led peacekeepers since they arrived, a Russian soldier was wounded by attackers while U.S. forces traded gunfire with other assailants and then chased their car with an Apache helicopter gunship.

The incidents were among seven in which soldiers of the NATO-led peacekeeping force either came under fire or were in the vicinity of shooting.

Canadian Maj. Roland Lavoie, a spokesman for the peacekeepers, issued a warning: "Aggressors have to keep in mind that we have rules of engagement that allow us to use deadly force."

The overnight shooting of the Russian soldier at a checkpoint in Koretin in eastern Kosovo might be the result of ethnic Albanians' unhappiness with Moscow's presence in Kosovo. Most Albanians view the Russians as allies of the Serbs.

The Russian soldier was shot in the thigh and taken to a U.S. military hospital. Peacekeepers returned fire, but the attackers escaped. Lavoie said the wounded soldier was expected to recover.

In Urosevac, south of the provincial capital, Pristina, U.S. soldiers guarding a house occupied by Serbs were shot at by several assailants. They were not injured, and returned fire.

Officials of the peacekeeping force, known as KFOR, said that the attackers fled in a station wagon and that an Apache helicopter gunship chased them as the car sped toward Pristina, about 25 miles away.

KFOR officials said the car was joined by a white Mercedes Benz during the chase. British soldiers found the station wagon at a Pristina hospital and arrested a severely wounded man. A search was under way for the Mercedes Benz and the other assailants.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, meanwhile, denounced his domestic opponents Friday and said ongoing protests demanding his resignation would not succeed.

"We will not give in to pressures by which NATO, through various corrupt politicians, is trying to undermine our stability," Milosevic said in a brief speech.

Tribunal nominee is named

_ U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan nominated Swiss federal prosecutor Carla del Ponte on Friday to head the war crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia.

"I was looking for a strong and experienced prosecutor, and I think she is very good," Annan said.

Del Ponte, 52, has been Switzerland's top legal official since April 1994. No date has been set for the Security Council to consider her appointment.

The current prosecutor, Louise Arbour, plans to leave by Sept. 15.