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Yugoslavia: Russian Peacekeepers Preparing For Kosovo Duty

Moscow, 11 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman says preparations are under way to send Russian peacekeeping soldiers to Kosovo but said they would not be quickly deployed. The spokesman said the deployment needed approval by both President Boris Yeltsin and Russia's upper house of parliament. The spokesman said he had no information about an Interfax report that the first 1,000 Russian troops would fly to Yugoslavia tomorrow. According to the report, the troops will go to Pristina, Kosovo's capital, and to the towns of Pec and Slatina. The remarks come as independent Yugoslav news agency Beta is reporting that Russian troops have already arrived in Yugoslavia from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The agency said a "significant number" of military vehicles and trucks crossed the border this morning.

NATO said it was checking the reports.

Russian defense and foreign officials said they would not comment on the Beta reports.