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    RUSSIANS ARE STILL NEGATIVE ABOUT 1999 NATO CAMPAIGN IN YUGOSLAVIA

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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russians have not changed their negative attitude to NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999, according to an opinion poll, which the Russian Public Opinion Centre (VTsIOM) has conducted to look into Russians' assessment of the NATO campaign's efficiency.

    According to the poll results, which were published in Moscow today, as little as 5% of Russians believe that the NATO operation ended ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, which was cited as the reason behind massive bomb and missile strikes on Serbia's and Montenegro's military and industrial facilities. The campaign lasted more than two months and took a heavy civilian casualty toll. Dozens of enterprises and important transport arteries were destroyed, which plunged the country's economy into a profound crisis.

    Four per cent of respondents agreed that the arrest of ex-Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, whom the western community accused of instigating ethnic cleansing, set a precedent of bringing a national leader to international trial.

    As little as 2% of Russians believe democracy was, thereby, established in Serbia.

    17% of respondents said the NATO operation had not brought inter-ethnic accord in Kosovo, but triggered the mass expulsion of Serbs from the province.

    The same number of pollees said the operation had set a precedent of using military force without relevant international approval.

    The poll was conducted on March 27-28 in 100 cities and settlements across Russia.

    Addressing a press conference at the Novosti agency on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian foreign ministry's official spokesman, again voiced Russia's serious concerns over the latest developments in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians staged massive pogroms of Serbian homes in mid March. Russia urges measures that would rule out further ethnic conflicts in Kosovo, said Mr Yakovenko. "This issue is constantly in the focus of Russia's attention and efforts," said the diplomat.

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