Chemical weapons in Chechnya?
Reports on the Internet on August 9 said that UN-sponsored humanitarian aid workers have discovered evidence suggesting that chemical weapons, possibly chlorine gas, were used during the Chechen conflict.
Inhabitants of the Avatury area, south-west of Grozny, have skin irritations like those caused by toxic chemicals, and trees in the area are defoliated, according to the aid workers. Sightings of yellow gas near ground level were also reported.
Similar effects were found in other parts of Chechnya along with containers possibly used for chemical warfare. The use of chemical weapons has been denied by Russian officials.
"Thousands" of Krajina refugees may be sent to the ethnic Albanian-inhabited province of Kosovo in Serbia, it was reported on August 10. Kosovo was an autonomous region of the former Yugoslavia until it was forcibly annexed by Serbia in 1990. Ethnic Albanians are about 90% of the population.
Serb nationalists want to reverse demographic trends in the impoverished area, which are the results of steady Serbian emigration and a high Albanian birth rate. By the late 1980s, Kosovans' per capita income was as little as one-seventh that of wealthier Yugoslav states. The Serbian government to date has had little luck in enticing Serbs to settle there voluntarily, even with generous benefits.