Russian peacekeeper's death is not to make Russia withdraw its unit from Kosovo

A Russian serviceman was killed in a terrorist attack on a Russian peacekeeping patrol in Kosovo. According to Russia's military attache to Belgrade Lieutenant General Yevgeny Barmyantsev, the incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon near the village of Zuja on the Serbian administrative border. A group of sappers demarcating safe sections of the border for Yugoslavian security forces, who are expected to enter the D sector of the buffer zone later this week, ran into an ambush set by an Albanian sniper. One of the peacekeepers, Sergeant Mikhail Shuitsev, 22, was shot in the head and died on the way to the hospital of the Bondsteel base. No one else was injured. Commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent General Vladimir Kazantsev arrived at the scene to investigate into the murder.

The death of Russian paratrooper Sergeant Mikhail Shuitsev on April 11 in Kosovo will not affect the peacekeeping mission by the Russian troops in this Serbian province, Colonel-General Georgi Shpak, the commander of Russian paratrooper forces said. According to the general, the death of the paratrooper will not have such consequences as either a withdrawal of the Russian unit from Kosovo or enforcement of this unit, which is 3150 men strong at present, or relocation of its tactical groups to other regions. At the same time, the commander of Russian paratroopers remarked that measures would be taken to enforce the vigilance and combat readiness of the unit. In particular, the Russian peacekeepers have intensified their surveillance of the terrain and are acting more cautiously, under the protection of combat vehicles.

Spokesman for USA has already respond to the accident as well. Colin Powell, US State Secretary, offered his deep condolence to the Russian side on the death of a Russian paratrooper in Kosovo. The State Secretary made this statement at today's press conference in Paris on completion of bilateral talks with Igor Ivanov, Russian Foreign Minister.

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