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NATO: Macedonians React With Shock To Airstrikes

  • Kitty McKinsey

Skopje, 25 March 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Next door to Serbia, residents of the Macedonian capital Skopje reacted with shock and fear tonight to the news that long-threatened NATO airstrikes against the Serbs have finally begun.

The news broke as many in the capital were having dinner. In one popular restaurant in the old town, the owner turned up a radio to relay live bulletins to the patrons, who immediately fell silent.

One woman guest struggled to hold back tears, as she whispered, "I've never felt so bad in my whole life." She added: "It's the beginning of war here."

Many Macedonians are afraid that with thousands of NATO soldiers stationed on their soil, their tiny country bordering Kosovo will now become a target for revenge attacks ordered by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

One private businessman in Skopje said bitterly that NATO has picked a war with the Serbs to satisfy greedy U.S. arms' manufacturers who want to sell weaponry to the alliance.