(OT) Kremlin scrambles after Yeltsin outburst

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Check out the threat to Reuters if they broadcast it:

Kremlin scrambles after Yeltsin outburst Calls Clinton impudent, Kremlin attemps to quash reports By Dana Lewis

NBC News correspondent MOSCOW, May 6  Russian President Boris Yeltsin, denouncing President Bill Clinton as "impudent" and warning of quick retaliation if NATO's war escalated, caught his audience of Moscow business leaders, western diplomats and his own diplomats by surprise and sparked a Kremlin campaign to quash the statements. IN THE LATEST in a series of what the Kremlin characterizes as "misstatements," Yeltsin abruptly stopped delivering a scripted speech to an audience of Russian writers and business leaders and launched into an attack on the NATO war against Yugoslavia. "Just let Clinton, a little bit, accidentally, send a missile," Yeltsin said. "We'll answer immediately. We don't want war in Yugoslavia. We don't want to ... Such impudence. To unleash a war in a sovereign state without Security Council, without United Nations. It could only be possible in the time of barbarism."

Yeltsin's comments sent the Kremlin scurrying to limit damage. Kremlin aides informed Reuters, which had videotaped the speech under a media pool agreement, that distributing it could affect its participation in pool events  a powerful threat in the competitive picture agency industry. Reuters had not fed images of the speech as of 1 p.m. ET Thursday, but did provide NBC News with raw footage.

Dmitri Yakushkin, Yeltsin's press secretary, told NBC the report was being discouraged because "it's not an official comment." Pressed further, he said, "Look, we would just rather this go away and people not use it."


Since suffering a stroke in 1996, Yeltsin has had a penchant for such statements. Several times on foreign visits, he has become confused about which country he was in. Only last week, Yeltsin thanked visiting South African President Nelson Mandela for his work bringing reconciliation to Yugoslavia. He quickly corrected himself.

Last month, the Communist Speaker of the Duma, Russia's lower chamber of parliament, quoted Yeltsin as saying that Moscow was thinking about retargeting missiles on targets in the United States  a comment that briefly sent a shudder through western capitals. The United States and Russia, in a move of great symbolism, "de-targeted" their Cold War arsenals at the end of the 1980s.

His Kremlin aides in recent years have kept close tabs on the president and most of his public appearances have been scripted. Requests for interviews have rarely been granted and foreign reporters who shout questions at Yeltsin's speeches have been threatened with ejection from the coverage pools.

Until recently, Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky would regularly stand behind the president at speeches and other events and jump in to "paraphrase" or "clarify" when his boss appeared to be straying from the point.

However, Yastrzhembsky was late last year when he publicly suggested that it might be time to consider an early transition to an interim president, throwing his support behind Moscow's powerful Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

NBC's Correspondent Dana Lewis reports from Moscow.

-- none (none@none.none), May 06, 1999


" The Missles of October " WILL fly in December. What you did not learn from past history ( Pearl Harbor ) , you WILL learn again ! God help us all !!! Lived it before ... wil see it again !! Character DOES COUNT ! A. Wise Man

-- A. Wiseman (wiseman@prodigy.com), May 06, 1999.


dID YouR MothER Have ANd chiLDRen tHAT LIveD???????? oR WErE theY aLL BOrn bRAIn deAD???????

-- Dieter (questions@toask.com), May 06, 1999.

Dieter, Stick your head back into the sand and go back to sleep.

-- mom (Your@mom.edu), May 06, 1999.


DiD IT tAKe You LOnG tO LeArn TO tyPe LIKe ThIs????? IM fiNdIng It EXtreMelY DIfFicUlt! It IS So!!!!!

-- ssssSSSSssss (sss@sss.sss), May 06, 1999.


Then here is what Reuters reports,

.."Yeltsin Blasts NATO, Sees Few Gains With G8

MOSCOW, May. 07, 1999 -- (Reuters) Russian President Boris Yeltsin renewed criticism of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia on Thursday and said the threat of war was hanging over Europe.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that despite some progress at Thursday's meeting of his colleagues from the G8 major powers in Bonn, Moscow was not satisfied with the vague strategy they had approved to settle the Kosovo crisis.

The alliance still wants to lead a peace force for Kosovo and the West rebuffed Russia's call for a halt to NATO strikes.

The G8 -- Russia, the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Japan, Germany and Britain -- agreed on a strategy for resolving the Kosovo crisis, which included calls for a Yugoslav troop withdrawal from the province and for international civil and security presence there to protect returning refugees.

The Kremlin issued a statement containing Yeltsin's anti-NATO remarks even before the meeting was over. "Our peoples achieved lasting peace at the cost of huge efforts and sacrifices. However, the shadow of war is hanging over Europe today," Yeltsin said in a statement marking the 55th anniversary of the liberation of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, now in Ukraine, from Nazi German troops. "NATO is carrying out naked aggression against a sovereign state -- Yugoslavia. The bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, bringing death among the civilian population, cannot leave anyone indifferent, especially those who suffered all the horrors of war."

Yeltsin said that peace must be restored, based on the principles established by the United Nations.

Russia's Balkans envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, briefed Yeltsin earlier on Thursday on his mediation efforts and said his immediate task remained to narrow differences with the West over Yugoslavia.

It was his first meeting with Yeltsin since returning from the United States, where he met U.S. leaders and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "The result of all our work and talks is...that the positions are nearing each other," he told Russian television. Chernomyrdin said he might hold new meetings with Western and Yugoslav leaders in the near future, for which he planned to travel to Europe first and then to Belgrade.

Chernomyrdin, who made a number of diplomatic calls on Thursday, discussed the Kosovo crisis by telephone with Annan. "We hope for a greater activity of the United Nations in solving the crisis, that they put both sides at the negotiations table under their auspices. We will be around, we will be mediating," Chernomyrdin said.

Chernomyrdin also held talks with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes, who said there had been progress over Yugoslavia in the last few days but cautioned against expectations of an immediate breakthrough.

Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine were likely to visit Moscow soon for more discussions on Kosovo. "..

They spin too.

-- R. Wright (blaklodg@aol.com), May 07, 1999.

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