BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, March 25 -- Officials said massive NATO airstrikes hit more than 40 military targets across the Yugoslav union of Serbia-Montenegro, but political analysts said there was no sign of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic backing down from his hard-line stance on Kosovo. A statement by the General Staff of the Yugoslav Armed Forces said installations across the country had been attacked but added that 'combat readiness' of the Yugoslav military was at the highest level. It also said: 'Installations of the anti-aircraft defense system that uncovered in time the aggressors' projectiles and reacted efficiently have not been damaged and remained in operation for further actions.' Witnesses said explosions could be heard or seen on the outskirts of Belgrade. Milosevic and his military commanders vowed they would keep on 'defending the country against the NATO aggressors.' A statement released by the Yugoslav military command said two NATO warplanes were downed during the air raids. Pentagon spokesmen in Washington said all NATO planes returned safely. Preliminary reports said among the targets hit were the Batajnica military base 12 miles northwest of the Serbian capital, television transmitters on Avala mountain about 10 miles south of the capital and a military technical installations nearby. While Belgrade news media reported no casualties, Nebojsa Vujovic, the Yugoslav charge d'affaires in Washington, told CNN there were 'many casualties' and 'many deaths' from the airstrikes, particularly at a military barracks. Air-raid sirens wailed warning citizens of Belgrade of airstrikes, but there was an inadequate member of shelters to accommodate nearly 2 million people.
A Yugoslav military statement carried by Belgrade radio and television stations said among the raided military installations were four airfields and two military factories. Shortly after NATO began pounding the installations across the country at about 8 p.m. Wednesday, the Milosevic government declared a 'state of war,' an upgrading from a 'state of emergency due to imminent war danger' that had been declared Tuesday. The government said all government institutions and companies were required to place their employees, vehicles and other assets at the disposal of the military authorities. The state-run news agency Tanjug and Belgrade television said NATO raids hit areas around the towns of Novi Sad, the capital of the northern province of Vojvodina, the central Serbian town of Kragujevac and Pristina, the capital of the predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo. A series of explosions could be seen outside Pristina and the town was left without electricity, Belgrade radio reported. Belgrade radio and television networks aired a Yugoslav military statement saying 'the NATO through airstrikes committed aggression against the sovereign Yugoslavia, under the orders of the world policeman -- the United States -- and to the benefit of the Albanian separatists and terrorists.' ---
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