Pristina, 14 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - Some 5,000 British and German troops are spreading out through Kosovo today amid welcoming shouts of "NATO Tato" (Nato father) from crowds of ethnic Albanians. Nearly 1,500 U.S. troops in armored vehicles also crossed from Macedonia into Kosovo early today. They are the first wave of U.S. peacekeepers who will be stationed in southeastern Kosovo. Italian troops arrived today in the western city of Pec where they will set up a base for their operations. There are scattered reports of violence across Kosovo. Correspondetns say homes have been set ablaze in an ethnic Albanian suburb of Pristina. The reports say Serbian roadbocks have prevented British troops from reaching the neighborhood.
Yesterday, at least two Serbian gunmen were killed by NATO troops. British paratroopers shot dead a Yugoslav police reservist in Pristina after he reportedly began shooting at them, and German soldiers shot and killed two Serbs in a car shooting at a crowd in the town of Prizren. The German troops also stopped an angry crowd of ethnic Albanian residents from attacking Yugoslav soldiers who were trying to leave Prizren. The German Foreign Ministry says three German journalists have been killed by unidentified gunmen since yesterday.
In Moscow, the Russian Security Council is to meet today to consider strategy in a dispute with the West over Russia's role in the NATO-led peacekeeping force. About 200 Russian soldiers continue to control the Pristina airport, forcing British troops to abandon plans to use the airport as their headquarters.
Russia refuses to allow its troops to serve under NATO command and is demanding full control of a sector of Kosovo. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook says Russia will not control a sector of its own and Kosovo will not be partitioned.